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F F E R I N a: 


" All do something «"or the general good ; the rich giv* their wealth, the poor 
their labor, and even those bereft of sight can contribute their thoughts." 




Elntered according to Act of Congress, in the year 194T, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts 















I ken the night and day, 

For all ye may believe ; 
And often in my spirit lies 
A clear light, as of mid-day skies ; 
And splendors on my vision rise, 

Like gorgeous hues of eve. 

* * * * * 

I hear you talk of mountains, 

The beautiful, the grand ; 
Of splintered peaks so gray and tall ; 
Of lake, and glen, and waterfall ; 
Of flowers and trees ; — I ken them Ik. 

Their difference understand. 

And oh, the heavenly music 

That, as I sit alone, 
Comes to my inward sense as clear 
As if the angel voices were 
Singing to harp and dulcimer, 

Before the mighty throne. 

It is not as of outward sound 

Of breeze or singing bird ; 
But wondrous melody refined, 
A GIFT OF God pnto the blind, 
An inward harmony of mind, 

By inward senses heard ! 

Mary Howitt. 


A FEW words will be sufficient to convey to the reader the 
object of our humble " Offering." For whatever it contains, 
we, of course, hold ourselves responsible. We cannot but 
hope that it will exert a beneficent influence, and contribute 
something to deepen the interest already manifested in tht 
condition and claims of the blind. It was our intention to 
have published a book in raised characters, but the great 
expense of such an undertaking has prevented us. We have, 
however, endeavored to give a variety of interesting facts in 
relation to the blind, their education, &c., which, we trust, 
will make this book as useful and acceptable as the one we 
had previously contemplated. Those who are acquainted 
with the extent to which the blind are now educated, will 
have no difficulty in conceiving, that one without the aid of 
sight could write a much better work than this claims to be ; 
but as this volume may fall into the hands of many who may 
never have given their attention to this subject, we deem it 
proper to state, that the following pages contain the thoughts 
of the author as they were delivered to his amanuensis, with- 
out even the slightest verbal alteration. We might have ren- 
dered them more acceptable to the reading public, by sum- 
moning to our aid one better skilled in the art of book- 
making; but, in such a case, the present volume would have 
been deprived of its distinctive original character, which we 
were desirous it should possess. Wherever we have made 
quotations, they are duly credited. We have thought that 
short articles would answer our purpose better than elaborate 

essays. We have endeavored to give the reader some idea 



of the effect which blindness exerts upon the mind in influ- 
encing the reasonings and modifying the opinions of one who 
has been its subject from early infancy. Some may, perhaps, 
think they have discovered a want of consistency in our 
views. In reply to this, we will only say, that we regard 
man as a progressive being, and that, for ourselves, we 
change our opinions whenever we find that those we have 
previously entertained were wrong. We have always prized 
higher an earnest and inquiring spirit, than one who remains 
forever in an immovable state, who can boast of nothing but 
the pertinacity with which he maintains the ideas inherited 
from his fathers. 

The author wishes to be distinctly understood, that part of 
the design of the present publication is to enable him to obtain 
for himself, and for those whose happiness is dearer than life, 
the means of an independent subsistence ; and whatever may 
be realized from its sale, will be appropriated to this object. 

If energy and enterprise that have never yet yielded to cir- 
cumstances, can do it, our humble "Offering" shall find at 
least a temporary lodgment in every nook and corner of our 
widely extended land. Of one thing we are sure, that who- 
ever may honor it with a perusal will do so without injuring 
themselves in mind or morals. 


New York, 1853. 


Biographical Sketch of the Author, ....... 9 

Lines to the Blind Lecturer, 24 

Reply, 25 

Blindness and the Blind, 27 

Random Thoughts, 45 

The Friend of my Early Days, 50 

To a Lady Singing, 52 

A Tale of the Blind, 53 

An Adventure of my Boyhood, 72 

Lines, 75 

Our Country, 76 

Thoughts on Immortality, 85 

Lines to a Blind Beggar, 95 

The Blind Invalid, 96 

An Impromptu, - . . 102 

Cheerfulness of the Blind, 103 

The Good and the Bad ; or a Tragical Story, 107 

A Blind Man's Beau Ideal of a Beautiful Lady, .... 123 

A Beautiful Village, 125 

The Age, 127 

The Blind Bride, 138 

The Benevolence of Christ, 142 

Nicholas Sanderson, 148 

Glimpses and Reminiscences of Life, . ' 161 

The Reflections of a Blind Man, 171 

Reply to the Reflections of a Blind Man, 171 

Observations on the Effects of Blindness, 173 

Henry Morton, 185 

A Night in the Railroad Oars, 213 

Lines, 220 

Our Government, 221 

Charity, 234 



The Blind Pedler, • .... 243 

Kemarks on Education, 258 

An Address upon the Education of the Blind, .... 267 

The Man of his Time, 279 

The Infidel and the Blind Man, . . ^ 284 

A Sketch, 286 

The Two Aspects, 288 

Music, 293 

The True and the Apparent Life, 300 

My Mother's Grave, . . • 304 

A Hint, 307 

A Lesson for the Day, 308 

The Christian Religion, 317 

True Heroism, 326 

Contentment, 331 

To the Memory of a Departed Friend, 337 

A Journey across the Alleghanies, 339 

Man and his Life, 349 

The Life and Writings of Rev. Dr. Blacklock, . . . .356 

A Letter to a Friend, 377 

Hints to Young Men, • . . 407 

Eternal Life, 419 

Concluding Observations upon the Blind, 425 

A Fairy Waltz, 430 





" When on a master's work I look, 
What hath been done with joy I see ; 
But when in mine own book I read, 
I see what should have been done by me." 

A MAN always stamps the impress of himself on his 
works ; hence it always happens, that when we look on 
a piece of machinery, a beautiful painting, or a finely 
executed piece of sculpture, we are, I think, conscious 
of an instinctive desire to know something of him by 
whose mind they were conceived, and by whose hand 
they were formed. It is thus, when we look on the 
material world, we feel within our souls the want of a 
yet more thorough knowledge of the Great Architect. 

The philosophers of antiquity were led, by the study 
of nature, to confess that they needed a more perfect 
revelation of nature's God. 

We see the manifestation of the principle of which 
we are speaking in every-day life. 

Do we behold a splendid specimen of architectural 
skill, almost the first question we ask is, who is the 
artist 1 If we take up a book to examine, we involun- 
tarily turn to the titlepage to see by whom it was 
written. We regard this as an amiable trait of the 


human mind. It is ennobling to contemplate the crea- 
tive spirit as it reveals itself in whatever it creates. It 
must, however, be remembered, that, like every other 
principle, it is very' liable to be abused; hence it is not 
imcommon to find persons in whom this noble desire 
has degenerated into a cold and heartless curiosity. 
There are, without doubt, those who, on reading my 
humble offering, will wish to know something of him 
by whom it was written. It is with the hope of pleas- 
ing such that we have prepared the following necessa- 
rily imperfect sketch of our life. 

Do not be alarmed, kind reader ; I shall not trouble 
you with a long account of my pedigree. 

My ancestors were all, without doubt, very distin- 
guished men, or at least they thought so ; and this, so 
far as I am concerned, answers every purpose. 

As for myself, I was born (so say the chronicles of 
those days) in the fine old town of Marblehead, just 
sixteen geographical miles from Boston, Mass., in the 
year 1819. Of my infancy 1 cannot say much, for I 
have lost all recollection of those balmy days ; yet, 
reader, an event which happened within the first six 
weeks of my life, not only afiected my physical, intel- 
lectual and moral developments through time, but, it 
may be, has decided my destiny forever. For six short 
weeks was I permitted to look on the beautiful uni- 
verse, and then the windows of the soul were closed 
forever. During that short period of time, of all the 
objects which I was permitted to see, there is engraven 
upon my soul, never to be obliterated, 'the dim outline 
of one sweet, sad face. Say, if you will, it is fancy ! yet 
I would not have erased from my consciousness the 
thoughts which that ideal image has created. 

I would, for the sake of those who will read this 


sketch, as well as for my own sake, I had the power 
of describing adequately the sensations produced on my 
mind by that terrible dispensation which consigned me 
in infancy to total blindness. * 

It is probable that our first parents, when exiled from 
Eden, retained during their whole lives some recollec- 
tion of the awful presence of Him whom, while in their 
innocence, they were permitted to see. So I have 
always fancied (I suppose some persons will regard it 
as a 'mere illusion of the imagination) that I still retain 
some remembrance of the beautiful and thoughtful 
countenance of her on whom my eyes first gazed, and 
whose yearning tenderness, made more intense by rmj 
misfortune, guided and blessed my earliest years. 

If there is a place in my heart which the selfish and 
sinful world has not yet corrupted, there is inscribed 
the image of my mother. It is difficult to explain the 
principles (if there be any) upon which the destinies of 
individual men depend. There is one rule which I think 
holds good, (I may as well remark here that I am a 
little superstitious,) that the first great event in every 
man's life decides his fate ; at least, it was so in my 
case. As I have already observed, in six weeks I lost 
my sight, — so in six years I lost my mother. Hence- 
forth, without eyes and unprotected by a mother's care, 
I had to grope, or rather poke, my way through the 

Long and dreary were the hours of childhood spent 
sitting in the chimney nook or by the doorside, mourn- 
fully speculating on the strange difference which existed 
between myself and those around me. 

I contrasted, in my loneliness, the dark world in which 
I was placed with the bright and better one from which 
I had come, of which as yet I had not lost all recollection. 


The angel of beauty in my youthful heart sighed and 
wept for some external manifestation of itself in the 
material world. I looked around me, but saw not the 
green, beautiful gd^b in which the earth was clad. I 
gazed upon the heavens, but the awful stars blessed not 
my eyes with their mystic light. 

Men passed me by with a cold expression of pity and 
commiseration ; and little children, with an instinctive 
dread of suffering, shunned the society of one who could 
not participate in their enjoyments. Yet think not the 
hours of my childhood were all spent in gloom or in 
sadness ; for until the light of the young heart's affection 
is quenched by the bitter consciousness of sin, it is per- 
mitted to enjoy communion with angels, and to bask in 
the sunshine of an uncorrupted faith. But the simple 
enjoyments of early life and the pure sentiments from 
which they spring, are necessarily evanescent and 
transient; they soon become corrupted, either by the 
habits of those with whom we associate, or by a defec- 
tive education; but their effect on the heart is never 
entirely dissipated. We carry through life a presenti- 
ment in our bosom that our earliest were our happiest 
and our best daysj and the consciousness of the indi- 
vidual, like the consciousness of the race, refers to an 
early and a blessed Eden ; and Hope, the sweet soother 
of all our sorrows, points to the far distant future when 
man shall again renew his primeval simplicity and 

I have been indulging the bright fancies that play 
around my heart, spite of the darkness m which I am 
shrouded ; but there is a blessed sunshine within, as well 
as without, and it is sometimes pleasant to bask in its 
soft and cheering light. 

We will now proceed to note some of those changes 


and vicissitudes that marked the days of my boyhood. 
My father, being in indigent circumstances, compelled 
me early to make some exertions for myself; and the 
physical activity which was necessarily excited, proved 
highly beneficial to me in after life. My first efforts to 
help myself were displayed in the attempt to walk 
alone through the streets of my native town. I first, of 
course, learned the localities of the neighborhood in 
which I resided, then gradually increasing the sphere 
of my observations until I was able to go into any part 
of the place with the greatest readiness. The manner 
in which I contrived to do this was by observing the 
irregularities of the ground over which I walked ; by 
noticing every permanent object that would serve as a 
landmark ; observing the turns of the road, and carefully 
remembering the number of streets I passed through in 
going from one place to another. The facility and 
readiness with which I was enabled to go to any par- 
ticular house, not only in my native town, but in those 
adjoining it, proved highly advantageous to me in the 
business which I afterwards pursued, and by which I 
was enabled to gain a livelihood. 

When only ten years of age, I was compelled by 
poverty to employ that time in obtaining a bare subsis- 
tence which should have been devoted to the careful 
cultivation of the mind ; but at that period of my exis- 
tence I knew not the wants which the cultivation of the 
intellect and the development of the moral nature alone 
create; I felt only those imperious appetites which, 
though inferior in their nature, must always first be 
satisfied. For some years I was distinguished (and 
at that time it was a distinction of which I assure you 
I felt proud) as a fish-boy ; that is, I was accustomed 
to take fresh fish, which were daily caught, and to carry 


them to the houses in different parts of the place, to dis- 
pose of, receiving for my services twenty per cent. The 
value of some of the fish was marked in notches on the 
head; by counting these, I was able to tell the amount 
Twas to receive. Some kinds, however, I was accus- 
tomed to weigh with a pair of steelyards which were 
prepared for my use. 

My misfortunes secured for me the patronage of the 
wealthy ; and I knew what days to supply them, and 
what each customer would require. 

I would sometimes go in company with others to fish 
myself, and on such occasions would receive my share 
as well as my commissions for selling. I could help 
manage the boat, bait a hook and haul in the fish, 
almost as well as if I had been blessed with eyesight. 
These employments, although they enabled me to obtain 
my daily bread, brought me in contact with those 
whose influence on me was anything but favorable; 
familiarizing me with habits which in after life it was 
difficult to overcome. Yet I was happy, for I enjoyed 
a kind of equality with them, which I have found it 
difiicult to maintain with those with whom I associated 
in after life. 

At length I heard that something was to be done for 
the blind, — that a school was to be established, where 
they were to be educated ; and one day, when I was 
about fourteen years of age, I received notice that I was 
one of the six pupils selected by Dr. Howe to commence 
the Institution for the Blind, at Boston. Most gladly did 
I exchange the fishing-boat for the school-room ! As I 
have in another place spoken of the institutions at Bos- 
ton and elsewhere,* I need not go into particulars here 

* See article entitled Blindness and the Blind. 


further than to say that I entered on my studies labor- 
ing under great disadvantages. My fellow-pupils had 
been more thoroughly trained at home; they had 
enjoyed privileges which / had not ; kind parents had 
watched over and instructed them during their earliest 
years ; therefore, they had only to pursue the training 
which had been commenced under the parental roof 
But if I was inferior to them in mental culture^ I did 
most certainly surpass them m physical activity. At 
the exhibitions which were given to make the public 
acquainted with the objects of the institution, I was 
always sent out on some errand, to show the spectators 
that the blind could find their way about, alone. 

The first two years I spent at the institution were 
mostly employed at manual labor ; but after that, more 
of my attention was given to study ; and during my 
last year I maintained a respectable position in the first 
class in all the principal studies, excepting the higher 
parts of mathematics. 

On leaving the institution, which I did in 1838, being 
then twenty years of age, I received from Dr. Howe, 
the director, a certificate, certifying that I was honorably 
discharged from the institution, having complied with 
all the regulations, and recommending me to any per- 
sons disposed to employ me. At the same time, I 
received from Mr. J. A. Keller, Professor of Music, a 
certificate of which the following is an exact copy : 

" New England Institution for the Education of the 

" June 30, 1838. 
" Mr. Benjamin B. Bo wen has been a pupil to the sub- 
scriber, and has received instruction in vocal and instru- 
mental music, more particularly on the Pianoforte, the 


Organ, and in Thorough-Bass. As a scholar in Thor- 

ough-Bass, he was first-rate ; as an Organist, I can 

cheerfully recommend him ; and for the Pianoforte, he 

has gone through Logier's system, and the last part 

of Hiinten, and performs several overtures and other 

pieces with great accuracy. 

"J. A. Keller." 

On leaving the institution, I returned to my native 
town, penetrated with a more profound consciousness 
of the deprivation to which I was subjected, without 
"being able to do much more than before I entered the 
institution, to overcome its defects. 

Indeed, there had been awakened within me a love 
of knowledge, and I had received instruction in most 
of those studies usually pursued in our seminaries and 
academies. I found that my knowledge of History, 
Geography, Mathematics, Natural, Moral and Intel- 
lectual Philosophy, was superior to that of my brothers 
and sisters, who, previous to my entering the institu- 
tion, had enjoyed greater advantages ; still I found the 
difiiculties of obtaining an independent subsistence for 
myself not only undiminished, but even increased. 

I would not urge this as an argument for not edu- 
cating the blind ; I mention the fact because it has not 
yet received sufficient attention from society, and I take 
this occasion to express (notwithstanding tlje blind are 
sometimes accused of want of gratitude) my grateful 
acknowledgments to the people of Massachusetts, for 
the provision which they have made for me in common 
with others of our unfortunate fellow-citizens. 

I would not part with the education I possess, limited 
as it is; no! not even for the boon of sight, gladly as I 
would behold the beautiful earth, and the serene sky, 
or look upon the sweet faces of those around me. 


I proposed at first to spend my days m my native 
town, working a part of the time at some of the 
mechanical trades which I had learned at the institu- 
tion, and devoting the rest to the teaching of music and 
to intellectual pursuits. 

As a teacher of music, I found but little difficulty, 
and many of those who had several years before pur- 
chased Jish of me, now sent their daughters to be 
instructed on the pianoforte. 

There was not a sufficient number of pupils to occupy 
the whole of my time, and I attempted to accomplish 
something as a v/eaver of Manilla mats ; but in this 
attempt I miserably failed. 

A blind person, working with his fingers at this 
employment some fourteen or fifteen hours, can only 
average about fifty cents per day ; and it would be 
hard, indeed, if the blind could not have a small portion 
of their time for mental cultivation, since the material 
world can afford them, at most, but little gratification. 

I will not trouble the reader with a tedious detail of 
what to him must be uninteresting. Suffice it to say, 
that, after one year's trial, I satisfied myself that I could 
only obtain a livelihood by those avocations where 
sight is not so indispensably necessary as in mechanical 
employments; accordingly, I have pursued alternately 
the occupation of musician and lecturer. How well I 
have succeeded, others must decide; of one thing I 
am certain; I have had to contend with difficulties 
which I hope do not beset every one in the pursuit 
of a mere subsistence. 

My pathway through life has thus far been cheered 
with friendly sympathy and assistance. I hope, how- 
ever, I shall not be accused of being ungrateful, if 
I say that, in all the mere business transactions of 


life^ and in all my intercourse with the selfish world, 
though subjected to greater disadvantage than others, 
yet I have received no special favors. It is not true, 
as it has been frequently supposed, that in the world at 
large (that is to say, among the majority of mankind) 
the misfortune of blindness protects the individual from 
those vicissitudes and casualties to which others are 

I have, for instance, been robbed, and have known 
of other blind men sharing the same fate ; and I have 
foiuid those who were ready on all occasions to take 
advantage, and were pleased when the misfortunes of 
others afforded them greater facilities. I am sorry to 
record these things; they are not in accordance with 
my views of human nature, but with my experience. 

For more than six years I have, by great exertions 
on my part, been able to obtain a living as an itinerant 
lecturer ; and beside this, I have the satisfaction of 
knowing that my efforts have done something toward 
awakening an interest in behalf of the blind as a class. 

I have in my possession testimonials from distin- 
guished gentlemen in various parts of the country, Avho 
were not induced to give them from mere sympathy, or 
from any personal regard, testifying to the fact that my 
lectures Avere eminently calculated to do good. 

I mention this, not actuated by selfish considera- 
tions, but because I derive great pleasure in know- 
ing that, in seeking my own individual good, I have 
still been able, in some degree, to promote the welfare 
of others. As society is at present constituted, the pos- 
session of sight seems indispensable to enable one to be, 
to any very great extent, a useful and active member. 
Perhaps the blind man does all that he can be expected 
to do, if he succeeds in supplying his own wants and 


those immediately dependent on him ; and even then his 
Int is indeed a hard one, for to him the world presents 
none of those inducements that in every age have fired 
the ambition and nerved the heroic mind to lofty aims. 
No ! to plod on, shrouded in midnight darkness, com- 
pelled to tax to the uttermost his impaired energies, 
receiving only in return his daily bread, and then at 
last to sink into an obscure and an unhonored grave ! — 
this ! this ! is the blind man's destiny ! I know I shall 
be reminded of Homer, Milton, Saunderson, and others ; 
but the admiration they challenged only proves that 
they were exceptions. The remarks which I have 
made are applicable to the blind as a class. Still 
I would not be unmindful of the many enjoyments 
which serve as an alleviation to blindness, and in which 
all who are thus afflicted can participate. I would in- 
stance those pleasures derived from the social feelings 
and affections. The heart of the blind man yearns for 
the sympathy of his fellows ; and in social communion 
with gifted minds he derives the highest happiness of 
which he is susceptible in the present state of existence. 
Arid I may remark here, without exaggeration, that in 
the more intimate communion of hearts, based upon the 
'purest and the loftiest sentiments of which v/e are capa- 
ble, he has a far truer conception, than those whose 
affections become early corrupted by the objects of 

It is a just remark that " the eye is the organ of the 
passions, while the ear is the organ of the sentiments." 
The contemplation of mere physical beauty may indeed 
ravish the senses, but it can never give the heart that 
pure delight which music always imparts. To look upon 
a picturesque landscape affords a great, yet momentary 
enjoyment, but in the deep-toned harmony that arises 


from all created things, and that thrills with deepest 
ecstasy the inmost soul, there is a far more enduring 
happiness. So the radiant beauty of the human form 
and face, — the joy that beams from the speaking eye, 
— the smile that wreathes the lip with gladness, — can 
never exert that power upon the human heart, nor 
make so deep an impression, as the low, soft tones of 
the voice divine. If there be any faculty of nature less 
corrupted than the rest, it is certainly the human voice. 

I fear I have already indulged too long in general- 
ization. From the preceding observations it will be 
perceived that I am fully conscious of the solace 
which a beneficent Providence has so bountifully pro- 
vided for that class of his afilicted children of whom I 
have been speaking. 

There yet remain but few incidents of my history to 

I have already spoken of the satisfaction which the 
blind derive from the exercise of the social affections. 
Soon after leaving the institution, I began to feel the 
want of a friend, whose sympathy, based on something 
higher than mere conventional forms, might soothe my 
dark and rugged pathway, and whose counsel and 
kindly cooperation would assist me to overcome the dif- 
ficulties inseparable to one in my situation. To be 
frank, I felt the want of a life's companion. When a 
child I was taught to believe that there were angels, 
whose mission it was to guard the innocent and the 
helpless ; and this superstition (if superstition it be) I 
have not yet learned to disbelieve, and / trust I ?iever 
shall. Is it not true that we are surrounded by beauti- 
ful angels, who daily watch over and bless our pathway 
through life, who soothe our sorrows, brighten our joys, 


and minister to all our wants ? and are they less an- 
gelic because they inhabit the human form? 

I could tell you of one who, free from the intense 
selfishness in which so many hearts seem shrouded, — 
with graces of person, made more attractive by a bril- 
liant intellect, and a heart of untainted purity, — left 
her father's halls, and the society of her early asso- 
ciates, to share the humble lot of one, who could never 
see her face, or return her glance of deep affection. It 
was not that she was actuated by a morbid sensibility, 
nor with the thought that she was making any greater 
sacriiice than if she had shared the destiny of one less 
unfortunate. No ! It was because she honored him 
whom she loved, — because her education had made her 
superior to vulgar prejudice, — that she was willing to 
adorn the humble home of a blind man. Yet would I 
by no means be understood to say but that her act man- 
ifested a far higher disinterestedness than the unreflect- 
ing would suppose. It would be very difficult, nay, 
utterly impossible, for me to express how much I owe 
to the sympathy and assistance of my wife. 

There are many things, a knowledge of which it is 
indispensably necessary that a blind man should pos- 
sess in his intercourse with society, and in which no 
one can so well instruct him as his wife. There are 
many little things which in themselves may seem tri- 
fles, but which, in the aggregate of life, assume a vast 
importance, — such as the various rules of etiquette 
which in all well-organized society are observed. 
These rules for the most part are learned by the eye, 
and as their observance is what, in the estimation of 
many, constitutes a gentleman, there is no way by 
which a bhnd man can obtain a knowledge of them but 


from one who must indeed be eyes to the blind. Call 
these trifles if you will, but, as Goldsmith has it, — 

"These little things are great to little man." 

Most persons would naturally suppose that even in 
his home the blind man would still feel his misfortune 
even more keenly than in the world at large ; that the 
gentle voice of his wife and children would create 
within him a more ardent desire to see them, than he 
could possibly have to behold other objects in creation. 
The poet has thus expressed my meaning : — 

" And who can tell his cause for woe, — 
To love the wife he ile'er can see, 
To be a sire, and not to know 
The silent babe who climbs his knee ! " 

But so far as my own experience extends, I feel inclined 
to disagree with the poet, as well as with all those who 
would endorse the sentiment which he so feelingly ex- 
presses. For my part, I am consoled with the reflec- 
tion that I shall never see the efiect which time must 
produce on those I love ; so that I shall know that 
they have grown old only by counting the many happy 
years that have passed away. 

I should, indeed, esteem it one of the greatest of bless- 
ings to be permitted to see, if it were only for an hour ; 
but I would not accept of sight for the rest of my life, 
if I thought it would make the merry, laughing tones of 
the voice of my own sweet child less musical to my ear, 
or less dear to my heart. 

I have thus endeavored to give the reader some ac- 
count of my past history. There is much, however, 
which I have omitted, and much that must remain for- 
ever unsaid. The events of my past Ufe have not been 


of sufficient importance to require a minute detail, and 
I have not judged it necessary to speak of others, ex- 
cepting where it could not very well be avoided ; for 
the object was not to write a history, but to furnish the 
reader a sketch. 

I have sometimes ventured to generalize, and I fear 
my remarks have seemed to be crude and imperfect 
upon those topics which I could at most but barely 
touch ; but with all its imperfections it must be read 
with that indulgence to which the peculiar circum- 
stances in which I am placed, and the difficulties under 
which I labor, may seem to entitle me. 




Thou walk'st the world in daily night : 
In vain they gleam, in vain, for thee, 

The morn upon the mountain height, 
The golden sunset on the sea. 

By every rill that trips avs^ay, 

In music through the woods to go, 

In all sweet nooks where sunbeams play, 
Our flowers in radiant thousands blow. 

They blow for those, who, careless, see 
The hourly wonders in their way ; 

They bloom for them, but not for thee, 
Whose soul would bless their bright array 

In vain in heaven the angels bend 
Their airy bow of bloom and light j 

In vain the stars glide forth, to lend 
Their golden glory to the night. 

But he, whom nature thus bereaves, 

Is ever Fancy's favorite child ; 
For thee, enchanted dreams she weaves 

Of changeful beauty, bright and wild. 

For thee she braids her fairy flowers. 
For thee unlocks her gems of light, 

For thee she clothes the passing hours, 
Like radiant angel forms in flight. 

And pitying seraphs, sent from One 
Whose smile is still the spirit's day, 

Soft round thee sing. His will be done. 
And lead thee on thy faltering way. 


And reverent love in every heart 

Attunes all voices for thine ear, 
For thou art something, set apart, 

For all to soothe, and all to cheer. 

Thy soul beholds far more than we ; 

It walks a purer, lovelier land ; 
It sails upon a sunnier sea ; 

It looks on skies more wildly grand. 

No shadows from the silent tomb 

Steal through thy world's enchanted airs ; 

Thy flowers in deathless beauty bloom, 
Thy heaven, a fadeless rainbow wears. 


BY MR. B. B . BOWEN . 

'T IS true, alas ! too sadly true. 
That unto me all time is night ; 

Yet, through the darkness, I can view 
Much that is beautiful and bright. 

Full well I know, on verdant lawn. 
By many a gentle flowing stream, 

A thousand flowers are hourly bom. 
That ever in the sunlight gleam. 

On many a gently sloping hill, 
In music murmureth many a rill ; 
In many a quiet shady grove 
The birds sing all their life of love. 

At early morn, the golden light 
Gilds the majestic mountain height ; 
At dewy eve, the moonbeams play 
In beauty on the quiet sea. 

The stars at night forever shine 
O'er loving hearts that fondly twine, 



And breathe a deeper joy, I ween, 
Than e'er hath blest the poet's dream 

From mountain, valley, hill and dell, 
Myriads of happy voices tell 
Of Him, vphose spirit smiles the light 
That makes all nature fair and bright. 

That spirit, radiant, beams on me, 
And though I ne'er may hope to see 
Through the dark veil, that from my birth 
Hath hid from vieve the green-clad earth,— 

Yet in my soul that sacred smile 
Doth many a lonely hour beguile. 
With fairer worlds, and loveher skies, 
Than e'er hath dawned on mortal eyes. 

And fairy forms, on every hand, 
Dear angels from the spirit land. 
Soft murmur many a joyous lay 
To cheer me on my darkened way ; 

And to ray soul forever give 
An earnest of a holier rest, 

Where all that love, forever live, 
And where the pure are ever bleat. 



" Ye have a world of light, 
Where love in the loved rejoices ; 
But the blind man's home is the house of night, 
And its beings are empty voices." 


In an article entitled Nicholas Saunderson, we have 
spoken of the effect of blindness upon the physical, 
intellectual and moral development. We also briefly 
referred to several peculiarities of the blind, as the 
results of their misfortune. These, and many kindred 
subjects, we propose to treat at greater length in the 
present paper. 

To the philanthropist, as well as to the metaphysi- 
cian and psychologist, whatever tends to throw light 
upon the nature of a calamity so appalling as that of 
blindness, must have a deep and profound interest. 
Whatever may be the opinion of those who have made 
this subject one of mere speculation, and regarded the 
loss of sight as a physical defect which could be com- 
pensated by the cultivation of the other senses, the 
majority of mankind, in all ages, have considered it as 
one of the greatest deprivations of which our nature is 

The poet and the philanthropist have vied with each 
other in describing the loneliness and wretchedness of a 
life unblest by the sunlight, and uncheered by the 
myriad objects of beauty with which God has adorned 
the earth. Among the nations of antiquity, the loss of 
sight seems to have been regarded as a much greater 
misfortune than insanity. The LacedsBmonians, in 


obedience to a law of Lycurgus, destroyed their blind 
in infancy ; so did the Athenians. The Carthaginians 
burnt theirs, upon a slow fire, as a sacrifice to the sun. 
Historians inform us that, among some of the eastern 
nations, and also among the Romans and the ancient 
Germans, blindness was inflicted as a punishment on 
thieves, adulterers, perjurers and others. To this bar- 
barous treatment some of the early Christians were 
subjected. In the middle ages, partial blindness was 
substituted for total darkness. And even in our OAvn 
day, blindness, for a greater or less period of time, is 
virtually inflicted on criminals, by incarcerating them 
in dungeons where not a ray of light is permitted to 

From the foregoing facts, it will be easy to perceive 
that blindness has ever been looked upon as the most 
terrible calamity to which a human being can be sub- 
jected. It is difiicult, if not utterly impossible, for one 
in the possession of sight, to have anything like an 
adequate idea of the thoughts and sensations of him to 
whom the world is shrouded in perpetual night. You 
may, indeed, form some conception of the eflect of par- 
tial darkness upon the mind ; and, if we may believe 
those who have had an opportunity of testing it, it is 
anything but agreeable, producing, in some instances, 
mental derangement. It must, we think, be obvious to 
every one who will give the subject the slightest reflec- 
tion, that a person born blind, (or who becomes blind 
so early in life as not to retain any knowledge of the 
external world, derived through the medium of the eye,) 
must have altogether a diflferent idea of men and things, 
or at least his ideas must be greatly modified, from 
what they would be, if all the organs of his senses were 
perfect; — as, for example, his idea of distance, space. 


form, beauty, •fee., which is mainly derived through the 
senses of touch and hearing. We shall soon have occa- 
sion to remark upon the astonishing extent to which 
these senses have been cultivated by eminent blind 

Of the extent of blindness, we may form some con- 
ception by considering the many causes of which it is 
one of the effects. We have a few facts upon this sub- 
ject, which we will now present. The blind may be 
divided into two classes : those born blind, and those 
who have become so by disease or accident. The lat- 
ter class, of course, are the most numerous. And we 
may here remark, that there is no authentic instance 
on record, of an individual, born blind, obtaining sight 
by mere human instrumentality. Of those who become 
blind in after life, it is believed that the evil in many 
instances might be prevented, did physicians possess a 
more thorough knowledge of those diseases to which 
the eye is peculiarly liable. 

The proportion of blind to the rest of mankind, we 
have no very accurate means of ascertaining. It is 
supposed that the whole number upon the earth is five 
hundred thousand. It is found that they exist in greater 
numbers in that part of the temperate zone bordering 
on the torrid, or in those countries nearest the equator ; 
and that they decrease as we approximate to the poles. 
To this rule, however, there are some exceptions. In 
Egypt, for example, some travellers have estimated the 
number to be one to every hundred. More accurate 
observations have led to the belief that there is, in that 
ill-fated land, between twenty and thirty thousand ; or 
one to every two hundred. Of Europe, we have more 
correct statistics. In many provinces of Austria, the 
number is one to every five hundred and forty-five 


inhabitants. In Sweden, one to every seven hundred 
and forty-seven ; in Denmark, one to every eight hun- 
dred and forty-seven. Further north, there is consid- 
erable diminution. In Norway, one to every nine 
hundred; in Prussia, one to every thousand. It is 
found, by observation, that the same causes which 
operate in Europe, do not exert so great an influence 
in similar latitudes in this country. The exact num- 
ber of blind persons in the United States has not yet 
been ascertained. It is thought, however, to be not far 
from ten thousand. 

Language is inadequate to portray the ignorance and 
imbecility, the wretchedness and poverty, to which the 
blind, as a class, have in all ages been condemned. 
We shall not pause here to show the tendency of blind- 
ness to poverty. That begging was almost the only 
employment of the blind in past ages, and that the 
place to find them was in the alms-house, or by the 
way-side, in the quaint, but forcible language of 
another, "with their abject hats abjectly protruded, 
and their cold hands extended for still colder charity," 
— needs no proof from us. It is, indeed, cheering to 
find that there has been, here and there, one who has 
risen superior to what would seem almost insurmount- 
able obstacles, and who has taught the world, by 
example, that there is no physical calamity, however 
great, but must yield to the well directed and earnest 
efforts of a brave and energetic mind. 

The annals of philosophy, literature, science, and the 
arts, furnish many striking instances of blind men, 
whose rare attainments have astonished those who, 
with greater facilities, have failed to equal them. The 
reader need not be told that the greatest poet of 
antiquity, and his only compeer of modern times, wrote 


those works that have immortahzed their names, while 
to them the world of beauty no longer revealed its 
thousand charms. 

Before we proceed to give an account of the success- 
ful efforts that have been made in our own day to 
ameliorate the condition of the blind, by giving them an 
education, we must briefly notice some of those who 
have distinguished themselves by their extraordinary 
acquirements in nearly every department of knowledge, 
without the special aid of society. History informs us 
of but one who voluntarily subjected himself to blind- 
ness. Democritus, it is said, put out his eyes, that he 
might give himself more entirely to contemplation, and 
not be so much influenced by the surroimding world. 
St. Jerome tells us of one Didymus, of Alexandria, who 
was born blind, and though without the knowledge of 
letters, appeared a wonder to the world, by his learn- 
ing, logic and geometry. Cicero informs us that his 
teacher in philosophy, Diodorus, after being deprived of 
his sight, professed geometry, and was able to describe 
accurately his diagrams to his pupils. We have more 
remarkable instances of attainments in these sciences, in 
modern times. We have already spoken of Professor 
Saunderson, in another essay. As a parallel case to 
him, we may mention Mr. Greenville, who was deprived 
of his sight in early infancy. He invented an arith- 
metical machine, for his own use, very similar to the 
one used in the diflerent institutions for the blind, in 
this country and in Europe. The London Encyclo- 
paedia mentions the yet more remarkable case of Dr. 
Henry Moyes, who was deprived of sight so early in 
life as to be unable to remember ever having seen. 
The account of his life is so deeply interesting, that we 
venture to make an extract from that work : 


" Possessed of native genius, and ardent in his appli- 
cations, he made rapid advances in various departments 
of erudition ; and not only acquired the fundamental 
principles of mechanics, music, and the languages, but 
likewise entered deeply into the investigation of the 
profounder sciences, and displayed an acute and general 
knowledge of geometry, optics, algebra, astronomy, 
chemistry, and, in short, most of the branches of the 
Newtonian philosophy. Mechanical exercises were the 
favorite employments of his infant years. At a very 
early age he made himself acquainted with the use of 
edged tools so perfectly, that, notwithstanding his entire 
blindness, he was able to make little windmills ; and 
he even constructed a loom with his own hands." 

Dr. Moyes, in after life, supported himself by lectur- 
ing; and he is said to have been a very acceptable 
lecturer upon hydrostatics, pneumatics, optics, and 
almost every branch of natural philosophy. He was 
remarkable for his cheerfulness, and was greatly admired 
for his conversational powers. 

We must not omit here some account of M. Huber, 
of Geneva, who was deprived of his sight at the age 
of seventeen. He distinguished himself by writing a 
very able work, entitled "Observations on Bees." He 
was aided in his investigations by his wife, an excellent 
lady, who spent her life in contriving means to alleviate 
the misfortune of her husband. Before such instances 
of beautiful devotion, the exploits of your Joan of Arc 
seem tame and meaningless. Huber often said, if he 
had never been blind, he could never have known the 
depths of his wife's affection. 

There are none of the pursuits of life from which the 
blind man is debarred, excepting the studies of anatomy 
and painting. Yet certainly there are many employ- 


ments to which he would not seem very well adapted. 
Who, for a moment, would suppose, that a man with- 
out sight could discharge the duties of a pilot? Yet we 
are told of such a blind man, of Manchester, England, 
who lived about the commencement of the present cen- 
tury, whose name was John Metcalf This man was 
deprived of sight in early life; uneducated, but pos- 
sessed naturally of a very active mind. Mr. Bew, who 
has written his life, says that in his earlier days he 
passed his life as a wagoner, occasionally serving as a 
pilot to others over intricate roads during dark nights, 
or when the roads were covered with snow. Subse- 
quently, he was employed as a projector and surveyor 
of roads, in difficult and mountainous places. It was 
his custom to walk over the roads, feeling the irregular- 
ities of their surface with his staff. He projected the 
famous road in Devonshire, which was designed to pre- 
vent the necessity of crossing the mountains to get to 
the London road. 

We might multiply these instances of remarkable 
blind men, indefinitely. We might occupy more space 
than we have already done, with examples which 
demonstrate, conclusively, that blindness by no means 
impairs the vigor and exercise of the intellect. But this 
would cover only a part of our design. We must now 
proceed to give the reader some account of what society 
has done for this class of its unfortunate children. 
Hitherto we have spoken of the efforts of solitary indi- 
viduals, impelled by what would seem an irresistible 

Distinguished blind men of whom we have spoken 
seem to have been regarded, in their day, as passing 
wonders — as phenomena that none could explain. 
Saunderson alone seems to have suggested to the be- 


nevolent mind of Abbe Hauy the probability that a 
system might be invented, by which the bhnd, as a 
class, might be instructed in mathematics and the phys- 
ical sciences. The first account we have, however, 
of schools for the blind, is of those which were estab- 
lished in Japan, some years prior to the one commenced 
in Paris under the direction of M. Hauy. Among the 
Japanese, the blind seem to have been instructed orally; 
they were emphatically the oracles of their country. It 
seems to have been the business of their lives, to trans- 
mit to posterity the acts of their government, and the 
exploits of their great men. They were the only class 
of their countrymen who devoted their whole life to lit- 
erary pursuits ; and they formed, among that religious 
and superstitious people, no inconsiderable portion of the 
priesthood. * 

About the year 1782, prompted, it is said, by the ear- 
nest solicitations of a benevolent lady, who employed 
her whole life in efforts to alleviate the wants of the 
blind, M. Hauy made an appeal to his countrymen, 
which was promptly responded to, and which finally 
resulted in the establishment of one of the largest insti- 
tutions of the blind in Europe. 

M. Hauy invented a method of printing books for 
the use of the blind, in embossed characters. Of course, 
printing in this way did not require ink. The paper, 
when properly prepared, was laid upon the type, which 
had been previously set up in a frame for the purpose. 
A pressure was then made upon the paper, which gave 
the letters in relief on the opposite side. These letters 
could be distinguished by the touch, with almost as 
great precision as those printed in the ordinary method 
can be perceived by the eye. Books prepared in this 
way had but one inconvenience — that of their extreme 


bulk. Subsequent improvements, however, have con- 
siderably reduced their size. And though a given 
amount of matter occupies a much larger surface of 
paper, and one volume printed in the common way 
makes two or three when prepared for the blind ; still, 
when we consider the benefits that flow from an inven- 
tion displaying so much skill and benevolence, such a 
defect is of trifling importance. 

The more difiicult task of teaching the blind to write 
is accomplished by simple contrivances, one of which 
we will now describe. The reader must bear in mind 
that in writing, as well as in reading, and, in short, in 
whatever he does, the blind man must feel his way. 
Hence the difiiculties, amounting almost to an impossi- 
bility, of his committing his thoughts to paper in the 
ordinary method, — that is, with pen and ink. The 
common lead-pencil is substituted in their stead. The 
writing-board, as it is called, by which the blind are 
enabled to write in straight lines, is formed by pasting 
on a piece of pasteboard of the size of a common sheet 
of paper, strips of the same material, forming parallel 
lines, about half an inch from each other. This board 
is placed under the paper, and the finger is ther. drawn 
along upon the surface, so as to press it in the grooves 
or between the lines. The pupil is then taught to form 
the letters with the pencil. After writing a word, he 
measures, with the forefinger of the left hand, the 
space to be left between the words. It will be seen 
that, by this contrivance, the blind can not only write 
straight, but are always sure of having their words at 
convenient distances from each other, which cannot 
always be said of the writing of those who have eyes. 
Thus, by this simple instrument, are gained to the blind 


all the advantages that are conferred upon seeing per- 
sons by the ruled paper. 

Other ways have been contrived to enable the blind 
to write ; but they so nearly resemble that which we 
have already spoken of, as to render a description of 
them unnecessary. The apparatus employed in the 
study of arithmetic is simple and effective. It consists 
of a slab of zinc, cast in such a manner as to be divided 
into some hundreds of small square holes. Into those 
holes are placed types made of the same material. On 
both ends of each type is a point which can be made to 
represent four different characters, by changing its posi- 
tion. For instance, when so placed as to bring the 
point upon the left hand of the upper line, it represents 
1. When on the right hand of the upper line, 3. On 
the lower line at the right hand, 7. The left hand, 9. 
On the other end of the same type, there is a point 
slightly different, which, by changing, represents 2, 4, 
6j 8. They have another type which represents the 5 
and the 0. Thus they are able to form the nine digits 
and the cipher. This, for all arithmetical purposes, is 
as serviceable to the blind as the common slate and 
pencil to the seeing person. In algebra, the only differ- 
ence is, the types contain letters upon each end instead 
of points. In geometry, trigonometry, &c., they are 
aided with diagrams in raised characters. 

The study of geography is pursued with the help of 
maps and globes adapted to the touch. I have in my 
possession an atlas, containing a map of each of the 
states, on which are represented the mountains, rivers, 
towns, &c. ; so that, with my fingers, I can find any 
part of the country you may name, and describe its 
geographical peculiarities with as much accuracy as I 


could, if ill the possession of sight, with the common 
map or globe. 

Most persons would suppose that a blind man's 
knowledge of astronomy must be very limited. But 
with the use of an orrery, or planetarium, he can obtain 
correct and definite ideas of the motions and orbits of 
the heavenly bodies. H« is also aided with printed 
diagrams. Still, his knowledge of astronomy cannot be 
as extensive, nor can the pleasure which the study of it 
imparts be so great, as to him who, with delighted eye, 
rendered almost illimitable in its range by that mas- 
terly instrument, the telescope, views those resplendent 
worlds that so eloquently preach of God's wisdom and 

We might occupy a much larger space, and detail 
more at length the system of educating the blind. But 
v/hat we have said must suffice. Other and more im- 
portant facts deserve to be noticed. We may take 
occasion again, before we close this essay, to advert to 
the modus operandi of educating the blind. 

Besides the Parisian institution, there have been 
various others established in the different parts of Eu- 
rope, most of which owe their origin to the philan- 
thropic exertion of the indefatigable Abbe Hauy, who 
devoted his whole life and fortune to the interest of the 
blind. And, in the estimation of good men and angels, 
he enjoys a far higher glory than that prodigy of the 
world, who, after deluging Europe in blood, died unla- 
mented upon an isolated island of the ocean. In most 
of the larger cities of Europe, as well as in Great 
Britain, there are institutions, or, as they are more 
commonly called, asylums, for the blind. Some of 
them are dependent upon private munificence ; but by 
far the greater number are supported by government. 


At these establishments, the inmates receive, in addition 
to their education in other respects, instruction in music, 
or in some kind of handicraft- work, by which they ob- 
tain their hvelihood. Music, of course, is the favorite 
employment of the blind, and does more to compensate 
them for the loss of sight than any other blessing which 
Heaven has vouchsafed to them. It is to the " concord 
of sweet sounds" that must be ascribed that remarka- 
ble cheerfulness which has always characterized their 
dispositions, and which, to others, seems so great an 
enigma. In mechanical pursuits they often evince 
great ingenuity ; but, as they never can make use of 
steam and machinery, nor acquire a very great facility 
in the use of edge tools, it is impossible for them to 
compete with their more fortunate fellow-men. They, 
however, manufacture mattresses, mats, hearth-rugs, 
baskets, brushes, and many other small articles. But 
the problem — How shall bhnd men obtain for them- 
selves a livelihood? remains yet to be solved. The 
sense of dependence can be endured only in a state of 
ignorance. The moment you begin to educate the 
man, its crushing, blighting influence is felt. It is not 
enough, then, that society establish schools, where the 
slumbering intellect of the blind man is developed, and 
where those higher wants of his nature are called forth. 
But something must be done to remove him from the 
terrible necessity, under which he has so long suffered, 
of eating the bread of charity. As yet, education has ac- 
complished but little more for the blind than to awaken 
within them a deeper consciousness of the evils Avhich 
they have so long endured. We may yet hope that the 
ingenuity and benevolence already displayed in those 
wonderful contrivances we have detailed, will discover 
some way whereby the blind man, by his own exer- 


lions, shall be able to place himself on a level with 
those around him. 

In all the practical concerns of life, the deaf and 
dumb have decidedly the advantage of the blind. All 
the wants of society require sight to supply them; 
while not to hear, in some situations, is regarded as a 
positive advantage. Much has been written on the 
comparative value of the senses ; but the nearest to a 
solution of this question, that we have ever yet seen, is 
that of a German writer, who said, "If I were rich, I 
would rather be blind ; if I were poor, I would rather 
be deaf." 

It is now time we should say something of the blind 
of our own country. In the year 1832, an institution 
was incorporated by the Legislature of Massachusetts, 
entitled the Neio England Institution for the Blind. It 
was established in Boston, under the direction of Sam- 
uel G. Howe, M. D., who commenced with six poor 
children. The citizens of Boston, with that alacrity 
which has characterized all their benevolent enterprises, 
eame forward and furnished the means indispensable to 
such an undertaking. We must not forget to mention 
the gift of the truly Hon. Thomas H. Perkins, who 
presented the institution with his elegant mansion in 
Pearl street, — an act which has entitled him to the 
lasting gratitude of all those who love the benefactors 
of their race. During the last sixteen years, this insti- 
tution has conferred upon the blind of Massachusetts 
and New England incalculable benefits. It has been 
the cause of the multiplication of similar establishments 
throughout the country. The one at New York was 
commenced about the same time with the one of which 
we have just spoken. Soon afterwards, one was estab- 
lished at Philadelphia, by Professor Freelander. This 


gentleman, whose sympathies were early enlisted in 
behalf of the blind, left his native country, Germany, 
and, on arriving at Boston, finding that his benevolent 
intentions had been anticipated, he proceeded to New 
York and Philadelphia, and finally concluded to com- 
mence an institution in the latter place. He succeeded 
in interesting the philanthropic of that city in the good 
work ; and, after many ineffectual efforts, at length 
obtained from the Legislature of Pennsylvania an 
annual appropriation of a portion of the school-fund. 
His success was such as always attends the well- 
directed efforts of a good man. Desirous only of pro- 
moting the welfare and happiness of those under his 
charge, he devoted himself, not to build up a magnifi- 
cent monument to the state, but to rescue from igno- 
rance and degradation the sad victims of misfortune. 
He was indeed the friend of the blind. It was his 
ambition to bless, not to rule them, — to furnish a home 
where they might be made useful and happy, and not 
to make use of them to gratify the curiosity of the vul- 
gar, or the speculations of the heartless. We have 
heard his pupils speak of him as the truest of friends, 
and the noblest of benefactors. Mr. Freelander died 
before he had accomplished all that his great heart had 
projected. His grave, among strangers, is marked only 
with a plain marble slab. But the tears of the sight- 
less, commingling with the dews of heaven, have 
watered the place where repose the remains of this 
eminent philanthropist. 

Besides the institutions we have already named, there 
are several others in different parts of the United States. 
There is one at Columbus, Ohio ; one in Louisville, 
Ky. ; one in Yirginia ; one in Nashville, Tenn. The 
two last are as yet in their infancy. We hope the day 


js not distant, when every state in the Union will have 
a school for its blind. It must not, however, be sup- 
posed that society has done all its duty to this class of 
mankind, by merely establishing institutions where 
they may be educated. Something must be done to 
protect them from the ruthless and relentless competi- 
tion, against which they are poorly qualified to contend. 
If we have special kgislation to protect wealth, (and 
who in his senses can, for a moment, doubt we have,) 
surely there can be no very serious objection, to a few 
special enactments, which shall secure to the poor 
blind man at least his daily bread. But let us be a 
little more explicit ; for on this subject we wish to be 
understood. Society, or some one of its commissioned 
messengers of mercy, selects from the highways and 
by-ways of our land some twenty blind children, and 
takes them to a school, where they are educated, and 
instructed in some useful trade. Of the whole number, 
perhaps only two are qualified for the professions ; and 
even to these, what we have to say is equally applica- 
ble. After a term of years has expired, they are sent 
out into the world, relying upon their own resources for 
their subsistence ; feeling, more deeply than they ever 
could before they were educated, the incalculable 
advantages which sight confers, in the every-day pur- 
suits of life. Without capital and without friends, what, 
for instance, could they do, supposing they had learned 
only the art of weaving? And it must be remembered 
that they have not the advantages which the division 
of labor affords to those who work in companies ; each 
one goes from the institution to his home, and there 
attempts alone, or with such assistance as the sympa- 
thies of his neighbors prompt, to commence business. 
He works early and late, (for the blind limit not 


their day by the rising and setting of the sun;) he 
weaves a piece of carpet, or a door-mat, and sends it to 
market, where it is sold at the current price. But, 
meantime, not a mile from his workshop is a factory, 
which has turned off some hundred yards while he has 
been making one with his fingers. Besides, the factory- 
man is a capitalist ; he can afford to wait for favorable 
opportunities to sell, and can buy the materials he 
manufactures in larger quantities and for smaller prices. 
He must be blind, indeed, v/ho cannot see the disparity ; 
and he must have an adamantine heart, who would not 
do something to prevent it. What we have said of one 
trade is equally true of nearly all the trades the blind 
pursue. Now, it seems to us the evil can be remedied. 
Suppose a city, a county, or state, should confer a 
bounty upon the productions of the blind, which shall, 
in some measure, remove the evil of which we have 

We have another suggestion to make. We have 
already spoken of the general fondness of the blind for 
music. In Europe, it is not an uncommon thing for 
them to act in the capacity of organists in churches. 
Why should they not, in our oAvn country 7 Nay, 
more, why should they not have the preference over 
those to whom no«e of the other avocations of life are 
closed? Another suggestion: Why should not the 
blind be permitted to travel on our railroads free of 
expense 7 What objection could there be to provide for 
this, in charters granted to private companies, by the 
state 7 These may seem to others unimportant ; but to 
ViS, who have for nearly thirty years felt, in some way 
or other, nearly all the evils attendant on blindness 
they seem to be called for, and therefore we have sug 
gosted them. There is a kind of spurious phi) an- 


thropy, which delights to contemplate men in classes, 
but which cannot descend to benefit the individual. 
But when institutions for the blind shall overlook the 
grand object for which they were designed so far as to 
forget the individual welfare of the blind man, they can 
very well be dispensed with. 

As institutions multiply in tliis country, some regula- 
tions, such as those to which we have pointed, will 
become more and more necessary. The time has come 
when the blind man can no longer stand by the way- 
side and beg. Education has awakened within him 
the feeling of independence, which too long has been 
permitted to slumber. The gentle voice of sympathy, 
which in past ages lulled him into a consciousness of 
his deep degradation, by bewailing, rather than attempt- 
ing to mitigate, his fate, has received another direction ; 
and instead of reminding him of what he has not. it 
tells him of what he has, and of what he'may become. 

We have described, as well as we were able, the 
mode of printing books in raised characters. This is a 
subject of so much importance to the blind, that we 
may again advert to it. Great improvements have 
been made in preparing books, not only in the mode of 
printing, but in reducing the size of the letters ; for 
Vidiich the blind are indebted to Dr. Howe. This 
gentleman, assisted by Mr. S. P. Ruggles, has also 
improved the apparatus used for arithmetical purposes, 
and invented a method of printing maps, which greatly 
surpasses, in beauty and durability, those of European 
schools. There are but two presses for printing books 
for the blind in this comitry; the one at the Penn- 
sylvania, and the other at the Perkins Institution.* 
Most of the books are issued from the latter. 

* The name of the New England Institution was changed to that oi 


The library of the bUnd is still small. The Bible 
has been printed in nine volumes. Some idea of the 
expense of works of this kind may be obtained from 
the fact that the entire copy of the Bible is twenty dol- 
lars. It is, however, furnished free of cost, to indigent 
blind persons, by the American Bible Society. The 
Tract Society have printed, at their expense, several of 
their publications ; besides which, we may mention a 
History, in two volumes, an English Reader, Geogra- 
phy, Grammar, and several other small school-books. 
It will be seen that most of the instruction of the blind, 
in the physical sciences, as well as in intellectual and 
moral philosophy, must still be oral ; and, indeed, it is 
in this way that they must ever obtain most of their 
knowledge of the world around them, and of passing 

The books which the blind can read themselves, and 
especially the Bible, furnish benefits that can never be 
calculated. They enable them to pass usefully many 
an hour which would else be spent in ennui and list- 
lessness, or in repining at a fate to which they ought to 
be resigned. 

There are many facts and thoughts, slightly touched 
in this paper, each of which would be sufficient of 
itself for an entire article. We hope, however, that we 
have not written altogether in vain, and that what we 
have said will attract the attention which the subject 
itself merits; for it is not too much to say, that if 
there be any misfortune which entitles a man to the 
sympathy of his race, it is blindiiess. 

the Perkins' Institution, and the Massachicsetts Asylum for the Blind, in 
honor of its generous patron. 



" Thought is deeper than all speech-, 
Feeling deeper than all thought ; 
Souls to souls can never teach 
What unto themselves was taught." 

The spirit of independence that characterizes our 
age is not confined to poUtics, but pervades to a greater 
or less extent the hterary and the rehgious world. In 
times long since gone by, men seem to have had a con- 
sciousness of law, system, &c. ; but in these days of 
ours, liberty, universal and absolute, seems to have 
taken the place of all other ideas, or, rather, to have 
confounded all other ideas. This seems to be the 
thought of the prevailing consciousness at present. We 
see it manifested in much of that which passes for phi- 
losophy, literature, and religion; and why should we 
not avail ourselves of this tendency of our times, and 
speak out after our own fashion the thought within us ? 
For is it not true that if we write systematically, and 
obey the dictates of what is complacently denominated 
commofi sense, there are those who would call us prosy; 
when, if we but yield to the impulse, and utter, no mat- 
ter what, we shall obtain the cognomen of philosopher, 
and have it said of us that we are beyond our times, 
and cannot be understood by vulgar minds? &c., &c. 

Well, then, we commence with the remark that this 
is a great and mighty universe, and that this life of ours 
is a profound mystery; — that nature is beautiful, and 
that man is an enigma ; and that the heavens and the 
earth, the land and the sea, and all the things therein, 
are a vast riddle, which none but the sphynx can solva 


Therefore dive we into the depths of the vast unknown, 
and report thereof what we may of "heroes and hero 
worship," and of other matters pertaining thereto. Out 
of the womb of ages have sprung pigmies and giants, 
treading this earth somewhat rudely at times, and 
speaking articulately and inarticulately ; — hence it 
happens that human history, as it is called by the vul- 
gar, is but a vast pile of jargon. Here and there the 
far-seeing eye of some prophet genius, gathering up a 
fragment, translates its hieroglyphics to the unconscious 
mass who are plodding on, and who know not whither 
they are tending. 

We know from the indicator within, whereof we 
speak, that all things that now are, are in very truth 
but mere sham, — not things at all, but the semblance 

In the days when men did dream and act as if one 
was but the child of the other, then heroes in very truth 
inhabited the earth, and man did not hesitate to speak 
what the sibyl within bade him. Divine words came 
from the mouth, big with life and energy; — they built 
pyramids, and composed Iliads and Odysseys, There 
is no heart now that can beat like that of the blind old 
man of Scio's rocky isle. What was more misplaced in 
modern times than a Shakspeare or a Byron? We are 
not worthy of them. We camiot apprehend what they 
would teach; yet there were those who could. But ah 
me ! the heroic ages are gone ! Yet is there something 
of significance in the concatenations of developed and 
undeveloped thought and actions, in the midst of which 
destiny has thrown us, almost without a light to guide 
us, whereof we may speak presently. 

Life is an e/^ic, — a gospel, — a tragedy, — an alto- 
gether fearful thing. We tremble when we tliink of 


ourselves ! All that we can gather, from the past and 
the present, will not assist ns to the solution of these 
unanswered questions : — What am 17 — Where am I ? 
— and, Whither am I going? 

That this casement, wherein I find myself a prisoner, 
is strangely and curiously formed, I know ; that of 
vein and artery, nerves and lungs, there be a most 
strange compound, my consciousness doth confess ; hut 
who is this that thinks, and speaks, and acts, and 
wills, — this myself, — this unfathomable combination 
of angel and devil, of good and bad, that knows every- 
thing, and yet knows nothing, — that can soar to the 
stars, and move mountains, — and yet that cannot turn 
his own feet aside, even for a moment, from the dark, 
dark grave? 

TFAere am 17 Upon earth, you say. Ay^ and of 
the earth ! The stars above look down upon us, as if 
they alone could explain the mystery of our being ; — 
the flowers give forth their fragrance, as if it was their 
mission to anoint us for our burial; — the brooks mur- 
mur their sweet music, as if to make us more conscious 
of our sadness; — and the trees nod gracefully, as if 
they were the sentinels to attend us in solemn silence 
to the abodes of the dead. Where am 1 7 An answer- 
ing echo returns to the heart the question unsolved. 

The earth is but one wave of the great spiritual 
flood, "whose flux is life, — whose reflux, death; — 
whose efflux is thought, and whose conflux is light. ''^ 
The grand chant of our mundane sphere is ever the 
same : — mystery, — mystery, — mystery ! 

Whither am I going 7 From the depths of the soul 
there comes a voice full of music, of beauty and sub- 
limity, demanding its freedom from earth, and proclaim- 
ing its home in heaven, drinking with unutterable 


delight the words of that blessed Being, the proudest 
achievement of the ages, the Incarnate God; — typified 
in all the religions of the world. He threw from the 
heights of the far-off future his shadow to the feet of 
our first parents in Eden. Through the mysterious 
hght that has illuminated in every age the hearts of the 
pure, has floated the image, the God-man, Christ. At 
length he was seen teaching in the temple. — in the 
market-place, — on the mountain; and, true to his mis- 
sion, he died for the race. When we know his word?, 
speculation ends, and the soul is satisfied. The Saviour 
has ascended to heaven, and so shall we. But whither 
is heaven? Look around thee! — look within thee! — 
look above thee ! 

Turn we now to contemplate the heroes whose deeds 
have rescued their time from oblivion. In the days of 
giants, — of a Hercules or Sampson, of a Goliah and an 
Agamemnon, — then the heroic in man dwelt in his 
own right arm, and his daring exploits were written in 
darkness and in blood. He trod the earth as tread 
the lion, the tiger, and the leopard ; yet very sincere 
was he in that age of might! — But the infant soul 
awoke, and matter yielded to its sway. Then came 
the heroes of the brain and the heart, — a Herodo- 
tus, a Pythagoras or Socrates, a Plato, a Seneca, and a 
Cicero. Great teachers these, yet all of them together 
unequal to that one capacious soul, of whom we have 
said somewhat. " Yet, oh Plato ! there are but few in 
every age that can comprehend tlieeP But by those 
few thy memory is preserved in the universal heart. 

Come we now to the age which men call dark, — • 
dark, forsooth ! because mankmd discerned not its deep 
significance. The age of poetry, of minstrelsy, and he- 
roes great and brave ; an age when lord and lady sat in 


the banquet-hall, and the troubadour sung at the castle 
gate; when, fired with holy zeal, led by a priest of 
God, the hero band of every land fought long and val- 
iantly to redeem from infidel hands the sepulchre of the 
world's Saviour. But the golden age of chivalry has 
departed, and the men of great thoughts that are left 
upon the earth mourn in their loneliness. Self-love has 
usurped the place of virtue, and abject selfishness has 
well nigh driven the heroic spirit from the earth. 

Wealth and luxury are the deities enthroned in the 
bosom of the multitude. Here and there the philoso- 
pher is making his last effort to restore the race to its 
primeval simplicity, and for this end call we on the 
true-hearted to retire from the world, and give them- 
selves up to the guidance of the Divine impulses, that 
they may bask in the spiritual sunshine, and by the 
hght of their intuitions develop another scheme for the 
regeneration of society. 



"Be true to the dream of thy youth." 

" The heart never laughs ; but the deeper the sunlight that blesses it, the 
less it looks to outer things for its blessings." 

To the mind of the bUnd man all material objects 
idealize themselves; — he may, indeed, be said to live in 
a shadowy world. In very truth, life is to him a strange 
but a beautiful dream. All that he touches, all that he 
hears, become, as it were, to him spiritual verities, and 
incorporate themselves into his inmost being ; hence it 
happens that a great thought, or a beautiful idea, is in 
his soul the faithful representative of something he has 
known, or some being with whom he has associated. 

There is a passage in one of Beethoven's symphonies 
that I love to hear ; there is something in those sweet, 
wild strains, which calls forth from the deepest recesses 
of the soul the images of those I have known and 

Reader, I will tell you of one that I once called my 
friend, who lived upon the earth, retaining her recollec- 
tions of heaven until she was again called home to 
dwell forever with the angels. 

Our brief acquaintance was at that period of existence 
when the human heart first yearns for sympathy, and 
the youthful imagination begins to speculate on life. It 
was the consciousness of suffering we could not explain, 
that first brought us together, and formed from the 
grief of sinless hearts the mystic band that never can 
be broken. In my dreams (reader, dost thou never 
dream?) I see the spiritual sunlight that bathes the 


beauteous form of one whose silent sympathy gladdened 
my early days. Silent ! for the love that dwelt in her 
soul found no voice of utterance while here upon this 
earth she dwelt. The smile of ineffable beauty, — the 
look of intense affection, — the earnest and expressive 
gesture, were the means by which the oracle of her 
bosom delivered its revelations of innocence and heaven. 

She spoke not, she heard not, save the whisper of angels, 
Who murmur their music to hearts that are pure. 
Along her bright pathway streamed the sunlight of gladness, 
Around her bloomed flowers whose perfume she knew, 
For it came like her spirit from the garden of heaven, 
Unmarred by decay, — untarnished by sin. 

The greatest gift of Heaven is the spotless faith of 
childhood. It is that confidence inspired by the light 
of the# soul's intuition that makes our infant days so 
placid and beautiful. Would it not be well for all of 
us, if what seems but the dream of our youth should 
become the experience of our Uves? If not, then it 
were better to bury in forgetfulness the sweet remem- 
brances of our early Eden. 

I spent the first years of my life, as destiny had 
appointed, in darkness and in sorrow, relieved now and 
then by the sweet companionship of a little deaf and 
dumb girl. At first, the difference in our condition 
rendered the communication of thought almost impossi- 
ble, but our souls were impressed with the conscious- 
ness of our mission, and in obedience to its decree, 
all difficulties disappeared. The thoughts of childish 
hearts can only be expressed by those signs which are 
as spontaneous as the thoughts themselves. 

Cut off in a great measure from communion with 
those around us, the entire life of each seemed blended 
in one, till after many days there seemed to be but one 


consciousness. I speak, of course, of the life within ! 
of the realm of love ! for outwardly we were tM'^o. 
One mourned the want of light, the other, of music. 
Uncounted the hours of our existence sped on, till the 
dark cloud of care passed over the disc of our souls, and 
the dreamy, enchanting spell that encircled us had van- 
ished. And she who had fluttered like a bird upon the 
earth, returned uncorrupted to her home in the skies. 


What voice is that ? — a sorrow deep 

Sigheth in every trembling tone, 
So soft, so plaintive, yet so sweet, 

It seemeth like the wind's sad moan. 

When the fair flowers of earth are gone. 
And Nature seems no more to smile, 

And the dear birds have ceased their song, 
That oft our happiest hours beguile. 

That pensive voice, it doth reveal 
Far more than she would have it tell ; 

And though her bright, dark eye conceal, 
I know the truth, alas ! too well. 

The rose still blooms upon thy cheek, 
And beauty flashes from thine eye, 

But oh ! thou oft art doomed to weep, 
As one by one thy fond hopes die. 

Those halcyon hours when thou wert blest, — 
That first bright dream, — all, all are gone, 

And thou dost yearn in vain for rest ; 
So, lady, saith that mournful song. 



In the institution of which I was a member, and from 
v/"hich I derived much of the knowledge I possess, the 
most trivial incident was sufficient to change the monot- 
ony of common school life, and the ordinary incidents of 
every day, which to us, confined as we were to a very 
limited round, were sufficient to awaken great interest, 
and are as fresh to my memory as the transactions of 
yesterday. I well remember, though many years have 
since passed, when Maria Bordon became an inmate of 
our school. The fact of her having arrived was whis- 
pered around among the pupils; and when the hour 
arrived for the introduction of a new comer, — the time 
when we were accustomed to meet for the practice of 
music, the most delightful of all employments to the 
blind, — to every pupil in the school was known her 
nam.e, the place from whence she came, and the time 
she would probably remain with us. These facts 
had been grudgingly obtained from our good-natured 
director, Avho was by no means willing to tell us at 
once all that he knew, as his principle in dealing with 
the blind was, that they should gain knowledge grad- 
ually, that they might value it the more. 

It is now necessary that I should introduce Maria to 
the reader ; but as I have never looked on a human face, 
or beheld a human form, it will not be expected that I 
shall occupy much space in describing her exterior 
appearance. Maria was beautiful, if we may judge 
from the caresses of those who judge of beauty only by 
the symmetry of form and contour of person ; but to the 


blind she was beautiful, as she possessed a most sweet 
and musical voice, which, to those who know the exis- 
tence of those around them only by hearing and feeling, 
is the very sine qua non. The unusual sweetness, and 
the superior qualities of her voice, were themes of con- 
versation among the pupils for many a day, and one on 
which they delighted to expatiate. Maria, like most 
persons, when first admitted, was sad ; but this we 
attributed to the regret she felt in having left home and 
the beloved scenes of childhood, or perhaps I should 
say, associations, which to the blind are as powerful as 
is anything beheld by the seeing, and of which they 
delight to speak as constituting "the charms of home." 
But when, day after day, for many months, Maria still 
continued sad, we were surprised, and none of us were 
able to divine the cause of such habitual melancholy. 
She was one of the most gentle and amiable of the 
females, and every one, without a single exception, 
admired the traits of her character as they gradually 
unfolded themselves. No adverse circumstances, no 
petty annoyances, which constitute so great a part of 
every-day life, could annoy her. She seemed to be 
placed above being affected by those things which 
severely try common tempers. Her intellect was of no 
common order; and having enjoyed the blessing of 
sight for the first ten years of her life, she had acquired 
many things which those born blind are obliged to 
obtain after they enter the institution. But of the 
advantage which she thus possessed over her compan- 
ions she did not seem conscious, and to it she never 
alluded. In short, in the ordinary language of all men, 
"she was beautiful!" beautiful, I say, in the highest 
and best sense of the term. " She seemed," in the lan- 
guage of Shakspeare, "to be the very top of admira- 


tion, made of every creature's best." During the whole 
time which Maria spent in the institution, there was 
only one perceptible change of the aspect she wore, — 
only once did the sadness which rested upon her like 
the shadow of a cloud, depart and leave her an altered 
being. It was then that we first perceived what she 
might have been in her earlier years, — a merry, laugh- 
ing, happy creature, 

"too good 
For human nature's daily food." 

Now that I am about to introduce another character, 
I would remind the reader that I am not dealing in 
romance or fiction, but simply portraying what belongs 
to the real occurrences of that period which was to me 
the beginning of life, though it was not till after I had 
somewhat advanced in years. 

One day, a little more than a year after Maria came 
among us, we were officially informed that a young 
medical gentleman, a veritable disciple of Hippocrates, 
who had recently been, by accident, deprived of his 
sight, was about to become an inmate of our home. As 
he had received a collegiate education, and was withal 
a great man, having the grave title of "M. D.," some 
of the knowing ones among us prophesied that the 
'■'doctor" was destined for an instructor. In this, how- 
ever, they were mistaken, as many a pretended prophet 
has been. Dr. Rochford, for such we will call him, 
having been deprived of his sight by one of those acci- 
dents to which medical men by their chemical experi- 
ments are exposed, and having thus all his bright hopes 
in life taken from him, was anxious to seclude himself 
from society, or, if that was impossible, to spend his life 
with those who, like himself, were forever shut out 
from the light of heaven. He requested of the trustees 


a room, and to share in the amusements and occupa- 
tions of the pupils, on an equal footing with them. 
The day on which he entered was, of course, a marked 
one in the annals of our school ; he was regularly intro- 
duced, first to the males, and then to the females ; and 
it was remarked that when he was introduced to 
Maria he repeated her name with emphasis, and so in 
like manner did she his. There seemed to be a silent 
recognition on the part of both, which could only have 
been perceived by those to whom the human voice is 
the only index to the human heart. It was remarked 
on that day that Maria seemed more cheerful than ever, 
that her laugh was more frequent, and that she was 
altogether a happier being. The teachers — the seeing 
ones, I mean — attributed this to the natural cheerful- 
ness and gayety consequent on the introduction of a 
new comer, which was in our school a sort of jubilee; 
but the most reflective among our number thought of 
matters much deeper, but said nothing. 

In a few days, the doctor found the way round the 
institution, which was always the first lesson to be 
learned ; and it was observed by some of us that the 
rotunda, the place where Maria often chose to practise 
her voice alone, was the place which the soonest became 
to him familiar. This was, of course, unobserved by 
the majority. There was between him and Maria a 
similarity of tastes, — they loved the same songs and 
admired the same poets ; there seemed to be a harmony, 
a unison of feeling, which can easily be accounted for 
on natural principles, but which some now-a-days 
would attribute to the influence of magnetism. Yes, 
dear reader, there was a magnetic something between 
these two hearts, as I shall reveal in the sequel. 

I must confess that long before I knew anything of 


the real history of our hero and heroine, I could not but 

suspect that there had existed some relationship between 
them, but further than this, I could not penetrate the 
veil. I never shall forget one occasion when, unper- 
ceived by them, I chanced to stroll into the room where 
they, as usual, were singing duets together. Although 
I have many times heard that beautiful Swiss air, which 
so touchingly appeals to the tenderest feelings of the 
human heart, yet never did I listen with so much 
pleasure as on that occasion when, with their clear and 
beautifully blended voices, they commenced the follow- 
ing melody : 

" Why, ah ! why, my heart, this sadness T 
Why 'mid scenes lilce these decline ? 
Where all, though strange, is joy and gladness, 
0, say what wish can yet be thine ? 

" All that 's dear to me is wanting, 
Lone and cheerless here I roam, 
A stranger's joy, soe'er enchanting, 
Can never be to me like home. 

" Give me those, I ask none other, 
Than those who blessed my humble dome, 
Where dwells my father and my mother, 
0, give me back my native home." 

The song so wrought upon my feelings, that when 
they finished, I unconsciously moved my chair ; the 
noise was perceived by them, and the doctor immedi- 
ately walked up to see who had been intruding. Before 
I could succeed in makmg my escape, he caught me by 
the collar, and made me speak, as this was the only 
way by which he could know who I was. I expressed 
some surprise that he should be astonished to find any 
one in that place, as it was the room where we fre- 
quently met to practise music ; but he seemed to per- 


ceive intuitively that I knew more of his heart's history 
than he was wiUing should be known. And so, without 
any hesitation, he immediately made me his confidant. 
He told me very briefly that he had known Maria in 
happier days. They had both played on the green 
before the same homes ; they had walked in the shade 
of the same verdant trees, and gazed, alike interested, 
into the waters of the beautiful Kennebec. They had 
looked on the same sunsets, and watched the infinitude 
of stars with kindred emotions. Nature had been alike 
eloquent to them, and to them the world was full of 
enchantment. They had looked on the blossoms of 
spring, on the luxuriance of summer, and the gorgeous- 
ness of autumn, and in all the thousand beauties of the 
seasons there was always something that knit their 
hearts still closer together. 

The first disappointment which they knew was when 
Rochford's father left his native village for a new home 
far away from the scenes of his boyhood. One of the 
objects of the removal was that Rochford might receive 
greater means of education, as his father had contem- 
plated the fitting of his son for college, and this could 
not be done in the place where he then resided. Rochford 
entered the academy, made diligent improvement of the 
means afibrded him, and was subsequently received 
into Bowdoin College, where he graduated with all 
the usual honors which crown the career of the perse- 
vering and successful student. But amid the new 
scenes and occupations consequent on this course, it 
may well be supposed that Rochford forgot the asso- 
ciate of his earlier years; not so with Maria — she 
remembered him as the friend with whom she had 
loved to roam in the wood, or sit beside the stream, and 
listen to the music of waving forests and running 


waters. She had heard nothing concerning him, save 
occasionally a word or two from the minister of the 
parish, who kept np a correspondence with Rochford's 
father. His place was in a measure supplied by a be- 
loved brother ; in a few years he fell a victim to that 
dreadful scourge of New England, — consumption, — and 
she was left again alone to wander in paths familiar to 
her tread and dear as home. The friends of Maria per- 
ceived that day by day her appearance betokened that 
health was departing from her; her step became feeble, 
and her countenance pale and wan. The physician of 
the village advised her parents to provide her with a 
change of scene, or she would soon lie low with her 
brother in the grave of the early dead. It so hap- 
pened about this time that the "commencement" of 
Bowdoin College was to take place, and the physician 
being one of the curators of the medical department, 
and the minister being invited, it was arranged that 
Maria with her mother should accompany them to 
Brunswick, with the hope that the pleasant excitement 
of that interesting season might dissipate in some de- 
gree her gloom, and revive her wasting spirits. During 
the journey the minister remarked to Maria that among 
the students who were to graduate the next day, was 
her old schoolmate — Francis Rochford. ' This called 
up in the mind of Maria thoughts of the past, and in- 
duced the reflection whether the proud student would 
remember at all the poor girl with whom he had so often 
roamed "on the banks oi their beautiful river." 

On the day of the exercises the church was filled with 
the elite of Maine, and great expectations were excited 
by the unusually large number of young gentlemen 
who were that day to receive the honors of the institu- 
tion. When the procession of students entered the 


church, the position of Maria was such that she could 
not discern distinctly the individuals composing it, and 
therefore, did not, of course, recognize her early friend 
But as they each took a station upon the stage, she had 
a full view of them ; and with no ordinary interest did 
she watch for the appearance of a new speaker, in hope 
of being able to distinguish her Francis ; one by one, 
the speakers left the stage, till but one remained to at- 
tract the attention of the audience. All eyes were 
turned to him who was to deliver the " Valedictory Ad- 
dress" — to bid farewell in behalf of himself and his 
fellows to the friends and the scenes of their college 
years. As he ascended the stage, Maria gazed intently 
to discern what changes time had wrought, and gladly 
did she perceive in the man the fuller development of 
all the graces and charms of the boy. His cheek was 
indeed pale, and there was a shadow of deep thought 
upon his countenance, but there he stood to her a noble 
man — 

" A pure, warm heart and spirit high, 
Were wTitten on his lofty brow, 
And in his manly eye." 

In his address, Rochford spoke of the social feelings — 
their power and their charms, and of the ties which 
would bind him to the scenes of his most studious 
years. He turned to the faculty and addressed them 
in a most feeling and eloquent manner, and took fare- 
well of them and all in behalf of himself and those 
v/ho like him were to leave the classic halls, so long 
their home. A simultaneous and enthusiastic burst of 
applause complimented his noble effort ; and as he de- 
scended from the stage, it was to Maria like the depart- 
ure of the sun to him who has no hope of beholding it 


more. Rochford did not, as may well be imagined, 
recognize Maria among the vast throng ; and the next 
day she left with a relative to spend a few weeks in 

This, as will subsequently be seen, was a visit at- 
tended with most melancholy circumstances. A rem- 
nant of the Penobscot tribe of Indians had about that 
time visited Augusta, and all the lads of the place had 
acquired a great passion for bows and arrows to rival 
the skill of the savages. One day, when Maria was 
out in the open air, her cousin was at his usual play, 
and by a most unfortunate accident, the arrow which 
he discharged from his bow, pointed to resemble a 
spear, entered her right eye. In consequence of an 
inflammation which afterwards ensued, the other eye 
became affected, and — sad to relate — she was at length 
pronounced by the eminent and skilful Dr. Warren to 
be totally and incurably blind ! Every means was 
used for her benefit that promised to relieve, and she 
passed through a season of suffering most dreadful to 
endure. At last her friends made the necessary arrange- 
ments whereby she entered that noble monument of 
Christian philanthropy — the New England Institution 
for the Blind. 

Aftep leaving college, Rochford spent a few months 
of recreation with his father, during which time he 
became acquainted with a young lady, of whom it is 
necessary that I should attempt a description. Amelia 
Brownell was a young lady whose principal attraction 
was a fortune which her father intended at some time 
to leave her. She had received what is denominated 
" a fashionable education," that is to say, she had spent 
a few years in a seminary, of course not in her own 
town, but at a considerable remove from home, where 


she had been instructed in everything but that which 
would have rendered her useful as a wife or companion. 
At this time she had just returned from the seminary, and 
had arrived at that precise period in such a young lady's 
life when she is very desirous of making an impression. 
She seemed to be conscious of her personal defects, but 
hoped to make up in flippancy and ostentatious display 
all other deficiencies. She was very particularly desir- 
ous of making a decided impression on our young hero, 
who was the guest in many a circle, and with whom 
she frequently met. Rochford did not admire her, nay, 
he was not infrequently vexed with her efforts to con- 
ceal her real deficiencies, but, in consideration of the 
fortune in perspective, he overlooked all the want of 
real excellence of character, and when he left for Boston 
to pursue his studies as a physician, he was regarded as 
her accepted suitor. 

Rochford' s progress was rapid as a successful pupil of 
the Medical School, and he was about, at the end of the 
third year, to receive his degree of " M. D." with honor 
to himself and his teachers, when, by a sudden explosion 
of some chemical preparation with which he was exper- 
imenting, the fragments of the glass bottle which con- 
tained the substance were thrown into his eyes, and he 
was almost instantly rendered blmd ! He had expected, 
at the close of the term of his studies in Boston, to have 
returned to his father's, and to have fulfilled his matri- 
monial engagement with Amelia. But, on learning his 
misfortune, she positively refused to receive any further 
attentions from him, and it is easy to perceive that her 
aftection had no sympathy with the true and holy pas- 
sion which impels even to martyrdom for the one beloved. 

Dispirited by his misfortune, and unable to make any 
use of his acquirements as a physician, he resolved to 


enter the institution of which we have more than once 
spoken. It was there, as we have seen, that he again 
met Maria. His mind was carried back to the happiest 
years of Ufe, and the powerful associations of the past 
came thronging into the soul, leading him captive to 
what had once so delighted him. It was natural, in 
meeting with the being he had knoAvn in other days, 
sharing with him a common misfortune, and being in 
other respects similarly situated — it was natural for 
him to feel for her a deeper interest than he would be 
hkely to feel for any others with whom he was sur- 
rounded. Associating with her day after day, and dis- 
covering the many amiable traits of her character, he 
soon found himself cherishing towards her a deeper 
affection than he had entertained towards any human 
being ; and, in short, gentle reader, he loved her with all 
the ardor of which his nature was capable. And this 
was strikingly manifested, when, by the regulations of the 
institution, the male and female departments were made 
entirely distinct, and, of course, the opportunities of their 
meeting were less frequent. It is singular to see how 
difficulties will be overcome by the ingenuity of a mind 
when impelled by that master passion v/hich poets and 
philosophers have vainly endeavored to describe. This 
ingenuity was brought speedily into requisition by the 
separation made by the regulation alluded to; and the 
contrivance they adopted whereby to correspond with 
each other was singular indeed. They had a method 
used in the institution — that of pricking the letters 
with a sharp-pointed pencil, so that by the touch on 
the opposite side of the page, the words could be read. 
The room occupied by Rochford was in the left wing, 
and that of Maria was in the right wing of the build« 
ing, and the windows of both opened into the yard. 


Rochford Avould tie his letter on the end of a long string 
or cord, and would then throw it a few times, till he 
succeeded in making it lodge on the window-sill of Ma- 
ria's apartment, retaining in his hand the other end of 
the string ; she would tie her letter on the string, and 
Rochford would speedily draw it in to himself. This 
correspondence was of course carried on at night, when 
the darkness favored them, and was continued for some 
time undetected. Now it chanced that there was a tree 
in the centre of the yard, and on a certam time when 
Rochford was endeavoring to draw back the answer to 
an epistle he had transmitted, the letter caught in the 
tree, and, in endeavoring to extricate it, the string broke, 
the letter fell, not on the ground, but on a man's hat, 
and he — the man under the hat — was the last person 
into whose hands they would have chosen to have had 
it fall, for he was none other than the chief in authority. 
He could read it, and the effect of it may be judged of 
by the following: Both parties were severely repri- 
manded for indulging those feelings with which God 
had endowed them, and the exercise of which consti- 
tutes in those who are so' fortunate as to cherish them, 
the purest happmess which this world affords. This 
long lecture, however, did not turn them from their 
purpose, and, therefore, the first opportunity of meet- 
ing was improved to fashion a new alphabet, by which 
they were able to correspond in a manner, or with a 
mystic language, which could not be read by any third 
person, in this way they did find ways of correspond- 
ing for a considerable time, though the windows afore- 
mentioned were nailed down. ' It was deemed proper, 
in consequence of this, and the known ardor of their 
affection, to make more complete the separation, and to 
stop, if possible, all means of intercourse between them. 


Accordingly matters were so arranged that Rochford 
received a peremptory letter from his father, requiring 
his immediate return home. He was determined not to 
comply with this requisition till at least he could have 
one interview with Maria, and be able to leave her with 
a full understanding of their mutual feelings and pur- 
poses. This interview he obtained the eve previous to 
his leaving the institution. They met at a place to 
which I have before referred as the home of music, and 
both seemed to feel a vague apprehension that it would 
be long before they should meet again. Rochford told 
Maria briefly that his father was a firm man, and would 
doubtless object to their union, yet he was determined, 
that, although he had never disobeyed his commands, 
yet he now should consult his own feelings, and Maria 
might depend on his unchanging affection. It was ar- 
ranged on the part of Maria, that, at the coming vaca- 
tion, she should return to her mother's, and Rochford 
should meet her there. But now they must part, and 
the lovers were agitated beyond expression. As Roch- 
ford clasped his Maria to his breast, language was inad- 
equate to express the deep emotions of their souls, and 
in nature's simple eloquence they but uttered each 
other's name — O Francis! O Maria! They separ- 
ated, melancholy proofs that what God intended to 
constitute our purest bliss is too often made a source of 
our keenest misery I The next day, Rochford de- 

A few weeks passed, and the vacation came. Maria 
was soon in her own home, full of hope and joyous ex- 
pectancy. In a few days Rochford joined her, and once 
more they walked amid the scenes of their early years. 
It was a beautiful evening in June, at the mellow hour 
of sunset. The loveliness of the heavens reflected the 


serenity and beauty of their own souls, and they felt the 
charms they could not see. But, alas ! how changed 
was their condition when contrasted with what they 
were when last they stood amid those endeared retreats, 
and walked by the glowing waters of the majestic river ! 
They sat by the waters on a prostrated tree, and both, 
without any understanding save that which was natu- 
ral to two hearts thus sympathetically tuned in harmony 
with each other, commenced the following melody : — 

" Softly the shades of evening fall, 

Sprinkling the earth with dewy tears, 
And Nature's voice to slumber calls, 
And silence reigns amid the spheres." 

The last sad notes of their voices died away over the 
quiet waters, and a silence ensued, which was broken 
by Maria. 

"Francis, it is a beautiful evening! O, how often 
have I wished that the close of my life might be as 
calm as such an eve fading away into night, when I 
have wandered amid these scenes with you or alone, and 
have felt the holy influences of the hour. Did you ever 
think, Francis, that the time must come when we must 
part — when ohe of us should be called to leave this 
world, and no more listen to the voice beloved or the 
sounds so dear?" 

" That, Maria, is a thought on which I delight not to 
dwell. When I am with you, my affections are satis- 
fied ; I am contented with the present, and ask not to 
look into the future." 

" But," replied Maria, "love must have a future. It 
is a dread thing to think of love only where death is 
permitted to exert its power, and my dearest meditations 
are of that world where reigns immortal youth." 


** There is poetry in that; but my reasonings have 
been confined to the present existence. I know, indeed, 
that we shall live again, but more than that is not re- 

"No more revealed! For what did Jesus live ? for 
what did Jesus die? for what did Jesus rise? Was noJ 
the great object of his advent and mission to reveal 
God's everlasting love, reaching to ail souls and endur- 
ing through all Eiges, here and hereafter ? This, Fran- 
cis, this is a truth which I have learned at Jesus' feet, 
and it is to me the sweetest solace in every hour of 
gloom and pain, and which I would not relinquish for 
the greatest boon which I could possibly receive — no, 
not even for the gift of sight ! Gladly would I look on 
the scenes of life's earlier days, and admire the beauties 
which once so entranced my vision, but dearer, far 
dearer, is the hope of gazing, with an undimming eye, 
on a world of fadeless loveliness. O say, Francis," said 
the enthusiastic girl, clasping, almost wildly, his hand in 
hers, " O say, Francis, do you not believe that we shall 
meet in that bright and better world?" 

The earnestness of the girl astonished Rochford, and 
he exclaimed — " O God ! is this a reality? is the beau- 
tiful creature at my side my Maria, or is it all a dream, 
and she an angel ?" 

" No," replied she, " I am no angel, but the weak, 
erring girl you call your Maria. I am earnest, for there 
is something — I know not what — that tells me this is 
the last time we shall meet on earth." 

"Nay, nay, Maria, there are yet for us many happy 
years in store. But the hour is late — let us return to 
the house." 

They arose and directed their steps towards Maria's 
home. All the cheerfulness and gayety which Rochford 


could throw into his conversation as they pursued their 
way, could not remove the weight of melancholy that 
pressed on Maria's heart. When they reached the 
dwelling, Rochford felt that he must part, and he 
briefly informed her that he was required to set out 
early on the morrow to meet his father, and must there- 
fore say farewell to her. 

" Ah ! " said the poor girl, "are we then never more 
to meet?" 

" O do not utter such words. We shall meet many 
times, — I have told you there are happy years for us 
in store;" and imprinting a kiss upon her fair brow, he 
bade her "good night !" 

Early the next morning, Maria could have been seen 
sitting at her chamber window listening intently for the 
sound of the departing coach that should bear the 
beloved away. At length the rumbling noise, disturb- 
ing the hush of morn, broke on her ear, and she intently 
listened to the sound till it died away and no echo 
remained. Then did she feel her doom was sealed, 
though she could not in the least account for the appre- 
hensions under which she labored. 

At evening Rochford arrived at his journey's end. 
His father immediately called him into a private apart- 
ment; and there he frankly informed him that by 
letters from Boston he had been fully advised of all that 
had occurred between him and Maria, and that he 
should not consent, on any account whatever, to any 
further intimacy between them. " You are blind," said 
the stern father, " and can do nothing for yourself! I 
must therefore provide for you. Now, Mary Ann Neal 
is a good girl: she has lived with us several years, and 
I know she will make you a good wife. She has con- 
sented to marry you on condition that I will settle upon 


you a sum the interest of which shall be sufficient to 
maintain you and her. This, though my property will 
hardly justify it, I agree to do, if you will decide to be 
united to her. To-morrow I shall go to Portsmcuth, 
and shall return in a week, — that time I give ycu to 
decide, with the understanding that if you still cling to 
your present wild project, I shall discard you forever ! " 

We will not attempt to describe the feelings of Roch- 
ford, but return to Maria. Two days after the departure 
of Rochford, she was called to the bedside of her dymg 
mother, who, always in feeble health, had received 
several apoplectic strokes, and was now struck down by 
another and a fatal one. But the religion which had 
always consoled Maria did not now fail to afford her 
the consolation she needed in this the most trying hour 
of her existence. Her mother had been to her all that 
maternal love could be in the soul of a Christian, and 
now that she stood by her side in death, a new and the 
darkest mystery of life pressed heavily upon her soul. 
But she remembered God and was comforted. 

After the last sad rites were attended to, and Maria 
began to feel how much had been taken from her, a 
kind sister, residing at a distance, sent her word that 
her home should be hers if she would make it so, 
Maria received this affectionate message with gratitude ; 
and after a few days, she visited for the last time the 
graves of her sainted mother and darling brother, and 
strewed a few flowers on the place of their repose, as 
the last offering of her undying love, and then bade 
farewell forever to the scenes so hallowed by the varied 
events of the past. 

The week apportioned to Rochford had now expired, 
and after vainly endeavoring to dissuade his father from 
his cruel purpose, he yielded a reluctant consent, and 


promised to marry a being he did not loTe. Having 
taken this step, lie dictated to a confidential friend, a 
letter to Maria, in which he informed her tlie situation 
in which his father's determination had placed him, and 
that he was compelled to unite his destiny with a woman 
he did not love; but that, though the husband of 
another, she would always have his affections. 

One day, sometime afterward, Maria was sitting 
listening to the reading of a newspaper by her sister, 
and among the variety the list of marriages and deaths 
attracted attention. Her sister, unconscious of reading 
a name dear to Maria, read the marriage of " Dr. Fran- 
cis Rochford to Miss Mary Ann Neal." The effect of 
this was electrical, but as soon as she recovered from 
the first shock, Maria immediately concluded that there 
were two Dr. Rochfords — she thought the "Doctor" 
sounded unnatural, so unwilling was she to believe the 
fact of the case. But this indecision was of short dura- 
tion, as soon afterward she received Rochford' s letter, 
that had been sent to her former residence, and after a 
long delay, was transmitted to her enclosed in an epistle 
from the minister of the parish. The awful truth novr 
flashed upon her mind. She was now indeed miserable. 
This was the last of a long series of misfortunes which 
had made her life a painful one, but which had revealed 
to her the power of religion in the souL The effect of 
this last sad and heavy stroke was not perceptible to 
the observer, and while a tear trembled in her sightless 
eyes, she prayed God to bless her Francis. 

Not long since, it was my happiness to visit Maria, 
and as I conversed with her of the past, she appeared 
to have lost nothing of that enthusiasm which seemed 
to be a part of her very nature. "But once have I seen 
Francis since he was a man \ but oh ! that once was 


sufficient to keep him ever distinct in my soul, the ideal 
of all perfection. He is compelled to drag out an exis- 
tence far less happier than mine, united as he is to a 
being he cannot love, and who has no sympathy with 
his high endowments of mind." 

I mentioned to her that I should probably visit the 
East, and might perchance meet Rochford. " Tell him, 
then," said she, " that at the hour when last we met, I 
shall ever offer up to heaven a prayer for him." Then, 
in a more subdued tone, she added, "Tell him not to 
forget me." 

Before I parted from her, she sang to me, with the 
same touching sweetness as in other years, Rochford' s 
favorite — The Flower Girl's Song, in the "Last Days 
of Pompeii." As I took my leave of her, I could not 
but say half audibly, " Poor girl ! sad victim of a love 
too deep, too pure, for such a world as this." 

But yet in her soul she has hopes that give her the 
living waters of immortahty, as she rests her spirit in 
the expectancy of the time when the mighty and loving 
voice of God shall speak — '' Ephphatha!'' ("that is, 
Be opened !") and on her vision shall burst the ineffa- 
ble glories of that world where there are no changes 
but from glory to glory ! 



Etery one requires time for relaxation. There is 
real pleasure in throwing oflf the self-imposed dignity 
of manhood, and of yielding, without reserve, to those 
sincere feelings and emotions that guide and govern to 
a certain extent our childhood. 

It is a pleasant thing to recall in after life the pranks 
we have played in our boyhood, and to have a hearty 
laugh over the jokes we then perpetrated at the expense 
of others. 

I well remember an incident which, at the time it 
occurred, made a great deal of amusement for those who 
witnessed it, and which I will now relate. 

Some years ago, there was a man who was in the 
habit of visiting our native town, as often as once or 
twice a week, for the purpose of disposing of the pro- 
duce of his farm. The principal commodity which he 
brought to market was butter, which was usually con- 
tained in small covered boxes. He was accustomed to 
bring some forty or fifty in his cart at a time. 

It happened that he one day met with me, just after 
he had been oifering up his libations to Bacchus, and 
when, probably, he was as mentally blind as I was 
physically. Not perceiving that I was blind, he 
requested me to drive him around the town, and to 
show him where he would be most likely to dispose of 
his butter. 

Now I was always an ambitious youth, though I say 
it myself. Having learned to go about town alone on 
foot, I was anxious to try my skill at driving aroimd j 


besides, boys are always glad to have a good ride. 
Therefore I closed at once with the butter-man's propo- 
sition. He, by this time overcome by the potent draught 
wherev/ith he had regaled himself at the tavern, had 
quietly stretched his person in the back part of his cart, 
as if coveting repose. 

Taking the reins in one hand, and the whip in the 
other, I drove off in what was at that time denominated 
a furious style, for, seeing no danger, I feared none. 
The spectators, witnessing the rapidity with which we 
rattled through the principal street, looked on with 
astonishment, especially when they found that the 
driver was a blind boy. The horse kept the middle of 
the road, and we moved on for some distance, when 
finding by the air upon my face, that I had arrived at a 
cross street, and knowing that there was a store on the 
corner, I stopped, but as no butter was wanted, I drove 
on again. I had received instructions to call at the min- 
ister's, he being a regular customer. We soon reached 
his house ; I knew when we had got there, from the 
fact that it was situated on a high hill. Accordingly, 
when we were ascending it, I informed the butter-man 
of the fact, who succeeded, after a considerable diffi- 
culty, in getting out of the cart by the time we had 
arrived opposite the door of the parsonage-house. 

He was gone a few minutes, but being unable to 
trade, returned and told me that if I would turn round 
and go up into one of the cross streets, he would call 
into the houses and try to sell his butter. 

Emboldened by my success thus far, I pulled, unfor- 
tunately for all concerned, the left rein rather too 
quickly; the horse attempted to turn, — the wheels 
came in contact with a large stone at the corner; in an 
instant the cart was upset, and the contents thrown 


upon the ground. The boxes containing the buttet 
were thrown down the hill, and as ill-luck would have 
it, it had rained the night before, so that it would have 
required the chemical skill of a Sir Humphrey Davy to 
have separated the butter from the mud. The poor 
man stood for a few moments looking on in perfect 
amazement. At length he exclaimed, "You con- 
founded fool! could you not see that rock?" By this 
time, the minister, who had witnessed the accident 
from the window, came out. His mamier was usually 
solemn, but on the present occasion he was nearly con- 
vulsed with laughter. As soon as he could collect 
himself sufficiently, he addressed himself to the unfor- 
tunate butter-man, who had sufficiently recovered his 
senses to begin to estimate the extent of his loss, and 
who was denouncing me in no very choice terms. 
"My dear sir," said his reverence with emphasis, 
" that lad is totally blind." " Blind ! blind ! " repeated 
the indignant man; "then why, in the name of com- 
mon sense, do you keep blind pilots upon the coast ? I 
will never come to this market agam." 

It may well be supposed that by this time a large 
number of persons had assembled. As for myself, I 
attempted to leave the ground as soon as possible, car- 
rying off upon my shoes a large quantity of the butter. 
By the aid of others, the poor man succeeded in repair- 
ing the slight damage done to his cart. He gathered 
up his empty boxes, and returned home. Reflecting 
upon the adventures of the day, (for by this time he 
was thoroughly sober.) he saw that it Avas to his intem- 
perance that the loss he had sustained was to be 
attributed. He never came to our market any more, 
but he lived ever after a temperance man. 




O, LADY, sing that song again ! 

To me 't will e'er be dear ; 
It calls up sweet remembrances 

Of many a by-gone year. 

It speaks of early childhood days, 

When life was free from sorrow, 
When happy went the day away. 

And brightly came the morrow. 

When each returning hour that came 

Brought its peculiar joy ; 
When all was bright and fair around, 

And / a gladsome boy. 

It whispers of those halcyon hours 

When innocence was mine ; 
When round each object of my love 

Did every fond wish twine. 

But now, alas ! those days have fled ! 

And those I loved are gone ; 
But, lady, thou canst call them back ; 

O sing again that song ! 

And know, it can assuage the grief 

Of one lone child of sorrow ; 
Whose only hope, whose every wish. 

Is for life's latest morrow. 

Then sing again that plaintive song ; 

To me 't is ever dear ; 
It calls up sweet remembrances 

Of many a by-gone year. 



To one conversant with the history of our country, 
the events which have transpired for the last twenty- 
five years possess a deep and thrilling interest. 

The great problem Avhich ive, as a people, have at- 
tempted to solve, involves a greater responsibility than 
was ever, in the providence of God, committed to any 
nation, in ancient or modern times. 

It behoves the true lover of his country and his race, 
to pause and attentively consider what we have been 
doing for the last quarter of a century. Have we done 
anything to_ advance the cause of civil and religious lib- 
erty throughout the world 7 Have we strengthened and 
rendered more permanent our own free institutions 7 
Have we endeavored to strengthen the bond of union 
between the states of this great confederacy 7 Have we 
presented to the world the sublime spectacle of a great 
nation controlled by laws enacted in accordance "udth 
the will of a majority of its citizens 7 Have we always 
preserved social order, and maintained inviolate the 
freedom of the press 7 Have we never sacrificed our 
national honor? In short, do we still retain uncor- 
rupted the noble legacy transmitted to us by the heroes 
and patriots who fought the battles of the Revolution, 
and formed, by their collective wisdom, the charter of 
our liberties 7 These are important questions. Would 
to God that to each of them might be given an afiirma- 
tive answer ! 

The true friends of man throughout the world have 
looked to America as their only hope. Here the fond 


enthusiast trusted he should see realized Plato's idea of 
a true republic. The splendid example of a Washing- 
ton led the disappointed friends of liberty in Europe to 
believe that here, in a country which had never been 
cursed with despotism, man would prove to the world 
for the first time his capacity for self-government. The 
tyrant pointed with a proud satisfaction to the republics 
of Greece and Rome ; but the friends of liberty replied, 
In America there are no despotisms to overthrow, no in- 
herent evils to overcome ; and the united wisdom of a 
Washington, an Adams, and a Jefferson, will form a 
system of government which shall survive the mon- 
archies of Europe, and which shall defend the millions 
that fly to it for protection. 

The Goddess of Liberty, which for ages seemed 
driven from the earth, established her dominion upon 
the western continent, and millions of the oppressed 
from the old world came hither to enjoy her protection. 
Every movement of our government has been watched 
with a jealous eye by the friends and opponents of 
republican institutions throughout the civilized world ; 
and, so far as we can judge, we have disappointed the 
expectations of the former, and allayed the fears of the 
latter ; and accordingly we hear it said that the idea of 
a permanent republic in America is still problematical ; 
that our government is at most but an experiment ; and 
we hear this from those who, a few years ago, felt con- 
fident of our success. Our enemies, with an assiduity 
worthy of a better caus^, are availing themselves of 
every opportunity to sow dissensions among us, and to 
engraft on our system of government the elements of a 
future despotism. Can any one doubt this 7 Witness 
the encouragement afforded by the powers of Europe to 
emigration. Thousands annually flock to our shores, 


asking for protection; but the ship that brings them, 
like the wooden horse which was introduced into Troy, 
has concealed within it those who will, ere long, accom- 
plish our destruction. 

It is a trite maxim, that the perpetuity of our insti- 
tutions depends on the purity of the elective franchise. 
Now, it is an undeniable fact, that, in many parts of 
our country, foreigners are permitted to vote as soon as 
they land on our shores. The mischievous influence 
which foreign voters have already exerted upon our 
elections is beginning to be felt, and if a speedy remedy 
be not found to the evil, the time will come when our 
liberty will be a rnere name. I ^Imow it is said, that 
those who emigrate to our country come to enjoy, and 
not to destroy, our liberties; but it must be remem- 
bered that they constitute for the most part the poorest 
and the most degraded portion of the population of 
Europe, and, consequently, can have no just idea of 
rational liberty. They are, therefore, the fit subjects to 
be wrought upon by the artful and designing dema- 
gogue ; and that they form a powerful element, which 
the enemies of liberty will not fail one day to use to our 
disadvantage, no one can for a moment doubt. 

See the appeals to their prejudices contained in our 
newspapers on the eve of an election ; proclaiming the 
candidate of this or that party to be of Dutch, French, 
Swiss, or Irish origin, and calling on his country- 
men to support him ! Nor is this all ; in the principal 
cities of the United States they form themselves into 
political clubs, parade the streets with their banners, 
and he who can most successfully appeal to their pas- 
sions is sure of their votes. 

The most successful chief magistrate this country 
ever had, he whose iron will could control the repre- 


sentatives, and did not fear the senate, — next to the 
magic power of one great battle, was indebted for not a 
Httle of his influence to the fact^ that he ivas of Irish 
descent. We hope we shall not be misunderstood ; we 
v/ould not deny to the famishing, starving population 
of Europe an asylum, where, by their own labor, they 
may obtain bread for themselves and their children, and 
where they might enjoy forever all the advantages of a 
good government ; but we would not forget, in discharg- 
ing the duties to our race, the obligations we owe to our 
country. We would go down to the shore, and wel- 
come the^reigner to our country and our home; but 
we would not surrender to him those rights which, if 
he possessed without knowing their value, would, with- 
out benefiting /?im, injure us, and, in process of time, 
would render this country but little better than that 
from which he has emigrated. It is not thought wise 
to intrust a native citizen with the tremendous respon- 
sibility of the elective franchise, until he has had the 
experience of twenty-one years ; and shall we surrender 
to aliens, whose prejudices, habits of thinking and ed- 
ucation, so far as they have any, render them inimical 
to republican institutions, those dear-bought rights, at a 
shorter period of time than is required of our own citi- 
zens ? I say, no ! and until the majority of the people 
of the United States shall give the same reply, in a 
manner that cannot be mistaken, the palladium of our 
liberty is in inmiinent danger. 

There are, indeed, many evils at work in the body 
politic, which the clear-eyed philanthropist sees without 
being able to remedy ; but there is a cure for the one of 
which we have spoken, in the speedy alteration of our 
naturalization laws, so as to prevent the alien from 
voting until he shall have resided among us long 


enough to become acquainted with the genius of our 

An attempt has recently been made, in at least one 
of the largest states in the Union, by a portion of our 
foreign population, to obtain a complete separation of 
their part of the public fund for the support of common 
schools. The effect of this movement must be apparent 
to all. They are desirous of imparting to their children 
their own peculiar notions in government and religion, 
which will be found to be adverse to republican institu- 
tions. It has been openly avowed that they would not 
suffer their children to enter our common sc^ool-s, and 
that if they could not be allowed separate schools for 
themselves, their children should grow up in ignorance. 
It was the proud boast of our pilgrim fathers, that they 
had established our institutions on the Law of God, 
contained in the Old and New Testament; and yet the 
principal objection urged against our free schools by 
that portion of the population to which we have re- 
ferred, is, that the Bible is read in them daily. 

It is deplorable to see with what readiness the two 
great political parties, for the sake of a temporary advan- 
tage, yield to the demands of those to whom our public 
schools have become so obnoxious. Indeed, it is said 
that foreigners already hold the balance of power, and 
that party which can most successfully appeal to their 
prejudices, and who will pledge themselves to comply 
with their demands, is alone sure of success. In a 
short time, those who, a few years ago, humbly craved 
an asylum here from the oppression of their own coun- 
try, will boast, and justly too, that they are our rulers. 
Even now they begin to taunt us. One of their num- 
ber, in an organ devoted to their interest, did not hesi- 
tatCj on a certain occasion, to call Native Americans 


cowards and the sons of cowards. This, it may be 
said, is not of much consequence ; but it must be remem- 
bered that "straws show which way the wind blows." 
The fact is undeniable, that those who are constantly 
emigrating to our country come here without any very 
exalted notions of liberty, and with no very strong 
attachment to republican institutions; this is already 
seen, and when they shall outnumber us at the ballot- 
box, it will be felt, bitterly felt. Now is the time, if 
ever, to remedy the evil. 

If the battle for civil and religious liberty is to be 
fought over again on this continent, it is quite time that 
the friends of freedom were marshalling their forces. 
For one, lue are not afraid of the result. We can antici- 
pate with certainty a bloodless victory, if we but avail 
ourselves of the ballot-box, while it is yet under our 
control. We have always had a firm faith in the suc- 
cess of those great principles which it was the object of 
the fathers of our republic to establish, and which it is 
the duty of their children to maintain at all hazards ; but 
we freely confess that there are times when it would 
seem as if we were pursuing a retrograde movement ; 
when a degrading subserviency to party seems to take 
the place of a lofty patriotism, and a noble love of 
country appears to be supplanted by the desire for office. 
Most of the political papers of the day, instead of dis- 
cussing, in a calm and dispassionate manner, the great 
questions affecting the happiness of the people and the 
perpetuity of our institutions, are filled with inflamma- 
tory appeals to sectional prejudices — designed to influ- 
ence the worst passions of the multitude — to accomplish 
a temporary triumph ; and we look in vain into the 
published speeches of our statesmen for that dispassion- 
ate wisdom and far-reachmg sagacity that characterized 


a Hamilton and a Jefferson. It was once thought that 
intrinsic merit alone could entitle an American to the 
suffrages of his countrymen ; that he who had served 
his country with the greatest fidelity was alone worthy 
to become its chief magistrate; — but the palmy days 
of republican simplicity have passed away, and polit- 
ical intrigue is, in our day, more likely to be successful 
than statesmen-like ability and sterling virtue. 

Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and 
his immediate successor, compare well with each other ; 
but since their day, there has been a gradual deteriora- 
tion, and it will be long before American intellect and 
American virtue will be fairly represented in the person 
of her chief magistrate. The man who a few years 
ago brought forward, in the Senate of the United States, 
that great measure which demonstrated alike his ability 
and his patriotism, and which was alone adequate to 
preserve the Union, which artful political demagogues 
were endeavoring to destroy, has been forgotten by 
those who were unworthy his services, and supplanted 
by one who is his equal in nothing ; but the pen of the 
historian will render that justice to his merits which 
even contemporaries have not been able altogether to 
withhold, and his name will be enrolled in that bright 
galaxy of illustrious men we have already mentioned, 
and whom we now venerate as the benefactors of our 

The presidential chair, which every aspirant to pop- 
ular favor regards as the ultimatum of his ambition, has 
within the last few years been brought within the reach 
of every one who will stoop to the means by which it 
is obtained. The question is no longer asked, when a 
candidate is to be selected for the suffrages of the 
people, Is he a man of ability ? Is he capable of admin- 


istering the government in such a manner as shall best 
promote the great objects for which government was 
instituted? — but, Is he available? Can he appeal and 
pander to the prejudices of the multitude 1 Why is it 
that so many of our great minds, of our truly great men, 
shun the political arena, and prefer literary and scien- 
tific pursuits ? Because the military chieftain is pre- 
ferred by the multitude, while the scholar is often 
rejected. There is a popular prejudice against learned 
men, of which the artful demagogue always avails 

He who has shot an Indian stands a better chance 
of an election than the graduate of our universities. It 
is a mournful fact that our legislative halls are not 
unfrequently the theatres where, for a time at least, all 
law, to say nothing of decency and propriety, is violated, 
and by the very men whom we send to make the laws. 
"He who governs freemen must himself be free." If 
we select our representatives from among those who are 
more remarkable for their pugilistic than their intellec- 
tual or moral powers, we must expect to be poorly 
governed, and we ought not to complain of those fre- 
quent violations of all law that so often disgrace our 
legislative halls. We believe that the evil of which we 
are speaking can only be corrected by a more thorough 
dissemination of knowledge among the people. There 
is no more cheering sign of our times than the need 
which is everywhere felt of a more perfect system of 

When the study of the science of government shall 
receive that attention to which its importance entitles it ; 
when the constitution and the laws of our country shall 
be thought of sufficient consequence to be more gener- 
ally taught in our common schools ; we shall no longer 


look to the camp for our rulers ; and the distinction of a 
representative will be worth something, — not for the 
mere emolument of office, but for the opportunity it will 
afford him of contributing to the prosperity of the 
country, and the progress of the race. 

There are many other evils with which our country 
is afflicted, perhaps surpassing in magnitude those we 
have named, and which we hope will receive their 
appropriate correctives from the hands of an enlight- 
ened and patriotic people. Those of which we have 
spoken call loudly for immediate redress, and we have 
no doubt but they will receive the attention their enor- 
mity merits. 

If any one thinks we have written hastily, or that our 
words are harsh, let him remember that we have writ- 
ten with the feelings of an American, and let this be our 
apology. We wish not to survive when our country 
shall become unworthy of the high destiny for which 
God has designed her. 



In the calm, quiet moments of reflection, when, freed 
in a measure from the cares and pursuits of hfe, we sit 
down to contemplate those great truths and sublime 
mysteries which have in every age employed the 
mightiest intellects, and inspired the noblest hearts, that 
have adorned and enlightened humanity, we feel over- 
whelmed v/ith a sense of our own littleness, and of our 
indebtedness to those whose investigations have opened 
to us such vast fields of thought and speculation. 

There is no subject fraught with such deep and thril- 
ling interest to every thinking being as the future des- 
tiny of the human soul. It is a theme upon which the 
wise and good of every age have delighted to expatiate, 
for it engages at once the most discriminating power of 
the intellect, and the warmest affections of the heart. 
It appeals alike to our judgment, and our consciousness ; 
to the facts of our experience and observation, and the 
evidence afforded by the light of our intuitions. In 
fine, it is as vast and illimitable as earth and heaven, 
■ — time and eternity. 

Of all the questions which a thinking mind ever pro- 
posed to itself, there is probably none which has called 
forth so much thought, and excited so much speculation, 
as the proposition contained in the following : " If a man 
die, shall he live again?" 

There are those who have not only denied the immor- 
tality, but the very existence of the human soul. They 
maintain that what we call mind is but the result of 
the organization of matter. According to this theory, 


thought and feeling is but an effect of the higher laws 
operating on the most perfectly organized bodies. What 
is instinct in the animal becomes mind in man, because 
he is more perfectly developed. The materialist com- 
pares the soul to music ; as the latter is but an effect 
produced by the peculiar construction of the instrument, 
so the former is but one of the effects of that more cun- 
ningly contrived instrument, the human body. 

It would be needless to show the absurdity of this 
analogy, — the fallacy of such reasoning. Its best con- 
futation is found in the lives of those who have most 
strenuously advocated it. It is the basis of that dark, 
skeptical philosophy whose highest maxim is, that 
pleasure and self-gratification is the end of life; but 
there are those who, admitting the existence of the soul, 
affirm, nevertheless, that it has no naiuralimmoTtalhy ] 
that when the body dies, it remains in a state of uncon- 
sciousness, and in fact ceases to exist, so far as the con- 
sciousness of life is concerned ; but, in the great day of 
the resurrection, it will be again resuscitated, and its 
destiny forever fixed. 

The advocates of this theory profess to draw argu- 
ments in support of it from the Bible. 

We can conceive that it would not be very difficult 
for one who accepts the fundamental principles of 
Locke's philosophy to give his adherence at once to 
this dark and unsatisfying view of the human soul ; but 
he who admits the fact of his own consciousness ; who 
is influenced in the slightest degree by a spiritual faith : 
who prizes more the revelations of his intuitions than the 
doubtful facts he perceives by his senses ; must reject it 
with abhorrence ; and all other views that detract from 
the divinity and dignity of our nature. 

There are arguments in favor of the immortality of 


the soul, which the materiaUst never has, and never can 
satisfactorily answer. He may indeed have attempted 
to ridicule them, and, like Voltaire and others, sneer at, 
and satirize those who make use of them; but no one 
has ever succeeded in refuting them, and it is fair to 
presume that they cannot. 

The first which we shall mention, is that derived 
from the universal consciousness. There is no nation, 
no matter how degraded,, that has ever existed, but has 
manifested, in some way, a belief of the soul's future 
existence. The Hottentot, the Hindoo, the aborigines 
of our own country, and even the New Zealander, 
although it has sometimes been asserted to the contrary, 
have each a firm faith in future life ; and we should as 
soon think of discovering a people that deny their own 
individual existence, as we should to find a nation in 
which a belief in the soul's immortality did not form a 
part of their religion. We know, indeed, that there 
have been individuals who have denied that they had 
any consciousness of a future existence. Hume and 
his disciples denied that they existed in the present 
world ; and we believe that our present existence can 
no more be proved than our future life; those who 
would doubt either, subject us to the alternative of 
questioning their sanity, or their honesty. 

Another argument in favor of the soul's immortality, 
is founded upon what we knew of God. It cannot be 
that a being of infinite perfection could have created 
and so wonderfully endowed man with such an exalted 
nature, if his existence was to terminate with the 
present life. No ! it is as inconsistent with the char- 
acter of the Creator as it is contrary to all the analogies 
of nature, to suppose that our being terminates at the 
grave. Against such an idea, the best feehngs of the 


heart and the deepest convictions of the intellect are 
alike opposed. It cannot be that unbounded goodnessi 
and infinite wisdom have placed us here to partake of the 
evanescent joys of the world, — to endure its sorrows 
and participate in all its vicissitudes, — and then to be 
consigned to total annihilation. Oh, no ! the thought is 
too revolting. We could not even here enjoy sleep after 
the fatigues of the day, were we not cheered with the 
hope of a coming morrow. 

There is, in the soft sunlight of heaven, and in the 
ravishing beauty that it everywhere reveals, stamped* 
upon every part of the material universe by the finger 
of God, an assurance to man that he is destined for a 
better world and a nobler existence. It is written 
alike upon the earth and the sky, the flowers and the 
stars ; and in the bow that spans the clouds, there is a 
pledge that, after the storms of this life, we shall enter 
in calmness and peace upon a higher and a holier exis- 
tence ; and in the tones of the human voice that bless 
us here, is- symbolized the music of the angels that shall 
gladden us there. 

We come now to the consideration of another argu- 
ment, which, upon most minds, probably exerts a greater 
influence than those we have mentioned, in deepening 
the conviction of the soul's immortality. It is drawn 
from the nature of the soul itself. W"e find that we 
possess faculties and capacities, afiections and aspira- 
tions, that this world cannot satisfy. 

The truths wrapped up in the material forms aromid 
us, embodied in all that we see and know, do but make 
us conscious of the extent of our powers, without fully 
gratifying them. They invite us to ascend to Him from 
whom they emanate, — for no truth, properly considered, 
terminates here ; hence it is, that we only view truth ia 


fragments. An atom, and a world, alike symbolize 
some spiritual fact, which we are yet to discover, and 
which we are capable of comprehending. 

If we reflect upon the vast discoveries which the 
intellect of man has made upon this mundane sphere, 
and consider how eager he is to learn yet more, can we 
for a moment doubt that an opportunity will yet be 
aiforded him, under more favorable circumstances, to 
unfold and expand those mighty energies with which 
God has endowed him, and which are here so necessa- 
rily limited and confined? Does not that ardent love 
of knowledge, which this world is too poor to satisfy, 
prove that it shall yet have a broader field, a wider 
range, for its endless development ? Besides, if we con- 
sider the nature of our affections, how little there is in 
this changing, transitory world, to satisfy their cravings ; 
— love, that noblest of all principles, that divinest of all 
impulses, how seldom its deep yearnings find a response 
in a world whose mightiest law is change ! — we cannot 
but conclude that this is but the beginning of our exis- 
tence, the infancy of our being ; and that there yet 
remains for man an eternity in which his exalted facul- 
ties and inexhaustible afiections will continue forever to 
develop and expand. 

Can we, upon any other supposition, explain the fact 
that the wisest and most learned of our race have felt, at 
the close of their earthly existence, that they had but 
just commenced learning; or, as the great Newton 
expressed it, " that they were mere school -boys in the 
study of nature." The most that we can hope to obtain 
in the present state of existence, are the I'udiments or the 
elements of knowfedge. We but learn here the alphabet 
of nature, and then pass on to a higheer school, to make 
room for those that come after us. 


On the hypothesis of the materiahst, — that ipan, m 
common with the beast, ceases to exist when the bodily 
powers no longer perform their functions, — there would 
not only be want of wisdom, but positive injustice and 
cruelty ; in conferring upon him capacities and affec- 
tions, which are but awakened to a consciousness of 
their vastness and grandeur, to be forever extinguished 
in total annihilation. It was not for this that God con- 
ferred upon man an intellect capable of ranging at will 
throughout his vast creation, — discovering its laws, — 
examining its parts, — revealing the secrets hidden in an 
atom, or a world, — now penetrating to the interior of 
the earth, and anon ascending to the most distant star. 
It was not for this, that to his expansive heart was 
given a love so broad and so vast as to embrace the 
whole family of man, and aspire to the sympathy of 
angels. No; in tnan's very nature is written the cer- 
tainty of his immortality. 

There is another argument in favor of the soul's im- 
mortality, drawn from the incompleteness of life. Noth- 
ing in the present state of existence seems permanent ; 
all is change, though nothing is annihilated. 

The most gigantic works of art in time crumble into 
ruins, and everything in the material world seems sub- 
jected to the same fatality. Nor is man exempt from 
this general law. Our physical system is continually 
undergoing change. The body, every seven years, we 
are told, is entirely renewed ; nor is this phenomenon less 
certain because it is unperceived. But amidst all the 
mutations to which everything material is subjected, 
the human soul remains the same, ever developing and 
expanding itself, acquiring more energy, and becoming 
more exalted as the period approaches, when, freed 
from its earthly prison-house, it shall expand its wings 


and rejoice in the absolute liberty of a higher exis- 

It seems to us that all of that which we call the ex- 
perience of life, — those nameless events, those hourly 
occurrences, which, when viewed separately, seem to be 
the effect of chance, or accident, but, when regarded in 
their relation to each other, have, to the philosophic 
eye, a profound significance, — refer us to a higher devel- 
opment than we are capable of receiving in the present 
imperfect state of existence. We believe that there is 
nothing which the heart can conceive, or the intellect 
plan, in harmony with the ultimate good, "but that will 
finally be effected. The many schemes which the wise 
and good of every age have projected, designed to re- 
move those evils with which the world has been afflict- 
ed, which still darken the fair face of the beautiful 
earth — and which, because they have not succeeded, 
have been pronounced by some, Eutopian, chimerical, 
&c. — are capable of being actualized. The error has 
been, that men have attempted to accomplish on earth 
what can only be effected in heaven. The soul never 
forgets entirely its former home ; its aims and aspira- 
tions are always above the earth. In its darkest estate 
and lowest degradation, it still retains some faint 
glimpses of its high destiny, and in every stage of our 
earthly progress, it whispers to us of a better land. 
And when, alas ! as it too often is, darkened and de- 
formed by ignorance and sensuality, and its blessed 
sunshine obscured by the blackness of sin, it still yearns 
for that baptism that shall regenerate it, for that voice 
that shall welcome it, redeemed, to its home in the skies. 

When we have admitted the immortality of the soul, 
there are many passages in our earthly pilgrimage, 
which, though they cannot be considered as proofs in 


themselves, yet may still serve to confirm our faith, 
We would instance the fact^ that in all our actions we 
have an object, and that object is usually in the future, 
— something that is to be attained ; we are never satis- 
fied with the present. What is it but the consciousness 
of a future life, that makes us desirous to do something 
to preserve our memory when we are gone? 

Whence the desire of fame, if the grave is the goal of 
our existence? Why does the humblest human being 
desire some friend to adorn his tomb with flowers, if he 
is to sleep beneath all unconscious of the act? 

Why is it so difficult for us to conceive of death? 
Because the soul has only the consciousness of life. 

Fired with the enthusiasm of youth, the young man 
goes forth from his father's home to play his part in the 
busy world; from time to time he hears that father, 
mother, sister, brother, all have fulfilled their earthly 
pilgrimage ; still, in sad sincerity he struggles on, to ac- 
complish a purpose greater than bethinks; and Avhen 
at last his physical energies are nearly all exhausted, 
he returns to the home of his childhood to die ; what- 
ever may have been the vicissitudes to which he was 
subject in the world of strife, he is still cheered with the 
hope of a blessed reunion with those he loves. 

From almost every incident of our daily life, when 
correctly understood, we may derive something to con- 
firm our faith in the soul's future destiny. That which 
to-day seems dark and mysterious, to-morrow will be 
explained. Humble virtue, that now goes unobserved 
and uncared for, and that, in its very loneliness, weeps, 
shall in the future be honored and glorified above all ; 
and vice and wrong, that now enjoy the favor and ap- 
plause of the multitude, shall in the coming future be 
forgotten and consigned to oblivion. 


Tlius have we endeavored to state some of those ar- 
guments usually adduced to prove the immortality of the 
soul. AVe have not been influenced by what Addison, 
Dick, or any other writer, has suggested. It has been 
our object to state only those which, to our mind, seem 
to carry the clearest conviction. We cheerfully grant, 
that all the arguments which reason can devise, or 
which the nature of the soul itself can suggest, come far 
short of the teachings of Divine revelation ; but when, 
as in the present case, what God has taught in his 
Word confirms the voice of nature, they are worthy of 
our serious consideration. 

Christ has brought life and immortality to light. 
What, to Socrates, Plato, and other spiritual philoso- 
phers of antiquity, was at most but mere speculation, is 
to the Christian absolute certainty. 

Christ has risen — death has lost its sting, and the 
grave its gloom ; henceforth the humble Christian 
hears, as it were whispered by an angel, "In my 
Father's house there are many mansions." 

We need not dwell upon the advantages which the 
contemplation of the subject which we have been con- 
sidering confers. It is fit that we should sometimes 
withdraw our mind from the all-engrossing pursuits of 
the world, and reflect upon that higher life upon which 
we must all so soon enter. It is good to think of heaven, 
and the angels ; it purifies and elevates our affections ; 
it exalts and ennobles our whole nature ; above all, it 
brings us nearer to God. We would not detract, in the 
slightest degree, from the importance of the present life. 
We know that there are duties and obligations which 
vitist be discharged in this state of existence; man has 
an earthly mission, and he should fulfil it; but he 
should never cease to remember that he has a heavenly 


destiny. There is nothing which can so console us in 
all the disappointments and afflictions incidental to our 
present life, as a steady, unwavering faith in the soul's 
immortality ; nothing that will so elevate us above the 
contaminating influence of sin, and bring us into a 
more intimate communion with our Father in heaven. 


[The following lines were suggested on meeting with a poor blind man 
who obtains a precarious subsistence by begging in the streets of New York 
city. He does not ask charity, but attracts the attention, and endeavors to 
awaken the sympathy of those around him, by chanting a low, plaintive song.] 

Alone he gropes his dark and dreary way, 
With none to soothe or bless his humble lot, 

Shut out forever from the light of day, 
By all unpitied, and by all forgot. 

Compelled to beg his bread from day to day, 
Without one kindly look, or friendly tone, 

To cheer him on his darksome, lonely way, 
Poor, sightless man, without a friend or home ! 

In vain he chants the sad and plaintive song ; 

In' vain the tear streams down his sightless eye ; 
He ne'er can move the cold and heartless throng ; 

They heed not now the blind man's feeble cry. 

And yet the boon he craves ye well might give, 
For surely unto you much hath been given ! 

Oh ! say, in mercy's name, shall he not live, 

And share with you the bounteous gifts of Heaven ? 

I pity thee, poor man ! thus doomed to dwell 
In this cold world, all friendless and alone ; 

Yet, happily for thee, it may be well. 

For tltis, thank God, is not our final home ! 

No ; there are worlds that gem the vaulted sky, 

The bright abode of all that suffer here ; 
There thou shalt one day dwell — no more to sigh, 

No more to shed Kiisfortune's bitter tear. 



In this woiid there is a continued contest between 
good and evil ; and so intimate is the connection, that it 
is sometimes very difficult to distinguish the one from 
the other. 

They are the antagonistic principles of life, but they 
are often so Tuysteriously blended, as to defy the calmest 
and the clearest scrutiny. Yet, in proportion as we are 
influenced by one or the other, is our destiny decided 
for weal or for woe, for time and for eternity. 

Alraost every hour of our existence, are we called 
upon to perform some act, the influence of which, upon 
our future life, transcends the power of human calcula- 
tion. How fearfully great is the responsibility which 
God has imposed upon every human being, and how 
little is it felt and understood by the majority of man- 
kind ! Is not much, very much, of the misery and 
wretchedness which we see around us every day, but 
the inevitable result of this ignorance and neglect? 
How often, for example, does the- transgression of a 
single physical law entail upon others wretchedness 
and misery, which no kindness can alleviate, and no 
sympathy assuage. How often are we called to mourn 
over the grave of the young and the beautiful, who 
have fallen the victims to a disease engendered by the 
ignorance of those who might have blessed them. How 
often do we meet, in our daily walks, the young man or 
woman whose early doom is written in terrible distinct- 
ness upon their pale and wan countenances. How fre- 
quently do we hear, when at church, a hollow cough, 


and see the cheek of the young, now flushed, now 
deadly pale, telling but too plainly that, like half devel- 
oped flowers, they must die before the spring-time of 
life has passed away. 

Is it not a sad thing to witness the sufferings of one 
who has entered upon existence only to endure the 
pains and penalty of a law that others have trans- 
gressed, and whose only hope for relief is in death ? 
Yet there arc thousands of such. 

Reader, I will tell you of one, whose mournful lot has 
suggested the preceding remarks. 

In a small upper chamber of an old wooden building, 
in one of the most obscure streets of our city, there 
dwells a wretched human being, compelled to endure 
sufferings which can never be adequately described, but 
who might have been as happy and joyous a creature 
as ever pressed the earth. 

I am now about to sketch no mere dream of the 
imagination, to gratify a morbid sensibility, but to 
relate the melancholy story of one whose life has been 
marked only oy misfortune and suffering. 

I happened one day to complain to a friend of the 
difficulies that beset the pathway of one in my situa- 
tion. He rebuked me, saying he knew of one who 
suffered more in a day than I did in a year ; and on my 
expressing doubt if such a being existed, he said he 
would convince me if I would go with him the next 
day. My friend was one of those good men who 
employ all their time in visiting the abodes of poverty 
and misery, in providing for the wants, and in allevi- 
ating the miseries of the suffering and ill-fated victims 
of our imperfect civilization. 

I cannot now recount the acts of his daily life ; they 
are all unseen save by the recipients of his bounty, and 


by the blessed angels who ever hover over the abodes 
of the children of want. 

It was a fine morning in the early part of May, when 
I set out with my friend to visit one whom he said was 
a poor blind invalid. As we passed through the prin- 
cipal streets of the city, we met with those who were 
going in all directions, some to business, some to recrea- 
tion, and each one seemingly occupied with his own 
peculiar wants, unmindful of those around him. 

There is a sad and terrible Jiecessity manifested, all 
unconsciously, by the multitude that throng the streets 
of a large city ; but there is a deep significance even in 
their intense selfishness ; yet it is melancholy to con- 
template it, and so we passed on. We reached, after a 
short walk, one of those dark, narrow streets, which 
always indicate the abode of the poor. On turning 
into an obscure court, "Here we are," said my friend; 
and conducting me through a narrow entry, up two 
flights of stairs, he tapped gently upon the door, and we 
were admitted to the chamber of the blind invalid, who 
at once recognized the bland tones of my friend's voice, 
and in tremulous accents thanked him for this visit. 
He, in return, made many kind inquiries that mani- 
fested how deep an interest he felt in the suffering being 
before us. 

As soon as I was introduced, we sat down, and, at 
the request of my friend, the poor blind invalid related 
the incidents of her melancholy story. 

" My name," she said, "is Mary Lee; I am about 
eighteen years old. My father and my mother were 
both blind ; they resided some time after their marriage 
in the town of B., in the state of Maine. My father con- 
trived to obtain a livelihood by sawing boards; we 
were always, however, very poor. 


" My father died when I was only eight years old ; 
my mother and myself were then supported by the 
town. My aunt, who was a milliner in this city, 
visited us soon after father's death. She persuaded 
mother to let her take me home with her. Soon after I 
came to this city, I heard of my mother's death. My 
aunt was very kind, and said I should never want for 
a home. 

" From my earliest infancy I have scarcely ever 
known a well day. My whole physical constitution 
seemed to be completely prostrated, and the doctors all 
say that they can do nothing for me. The slightest 
exposure always subjects me to the most intense pain 
for days and even for weeks. My aunt always ten- 
derly nursed me, and provided for all my wants. I was 
in hopes I should recover my health, that I might enjoy 
the advantages of the Institution for the Blind ; but my 
health did not improve as I grew older. My cousin 
Sarah, who was about my own age, used to read to me 
every day ; she even obtained a book with raised char- 
acters, printed for the blind, and taught me to read with 
my fingers. This is a very great blessing ; for now 
that Sarah has to work constantly to maintain us, I am 
able to read to her from the Bible, and from other books 
which Dr. Howe was so kind as to send me ; and when 
I cannot sleep, I take the book on the bed, and read 
with my fingers how Jesus opened the eyes of the blind ; 
and I know that though I can never l3ehold the beauti- 
ful earth, he will one day restore me to sight, and I 
shall be permitted to see the glories of heaven." 

"Is your aunt still living?" I inquired. "Oh, no! 
she has been dead these two years ! " Here the poor 
girl manifested great emotion. At length, however, she 


overcame her feelings, and inquired if Sarah was in the 
room ; and on being told she was not, she proceeded : 

'' One night the bonnet-store of my aunt took fire, and 
in the endeavor to remove some valuable articles, she 
perished in the flames. Oh ! it was a dreadful night ! 
Poor Sarah ! I thought her heart would break ! 

" A short time after, the creditors came and took all 
excepting the few things with which this room is fur- 
nished. We were unable to pay the rent where my 
aunt formerly resided, and so we moved here, where 
we have been ever since. Sarah with her needle is 
able to pay the rent, and kind friends supply all our 
other wants. But it will be easier for Sarah by-and- 
by, for Dr. L. says I shall not live long, and then she 
will not have to work so hard." At this time the door 
opened, and Sarah entered. Going up to the bedside, 
she kissed the invalid and said, "Mary, I have got 
something for you. That good old woman, who every- 
body says is crazy, and whom they call a fanatic, has 
been here again, and brought this package. Sue said 
she could not come up now, but would come in and see 
you to-morrow." 

The package was opened, and found to contain arti- 
cles of clothing for the invalid, and a silver dollar. 

My friend now said that we must leave, havmg 
several other engagements. He inquired if their wood 
was nearly gone, — and on being told it was, he prom- 
ised to send them some in the course of the day. 

" Well," said my friend, when we were once more m 
the street, " what do you think now 1 Are you as 
much disposed as ever to complain of your lot ? Be- 
sides being blind, poor Mary Lee endures every day 
sufferings that would make you and me think that life 
would be scarcely worth possession ; yet she is resigned, 


nay, is comparatively happy ! I was there the other 
day, when she had fallen into one of those terrible par- 
oxysms that must very soon terminate her existence. 
She not only inherited blindness from her parents, but 
consumption, which brings in its train a complication 
of other diseases. They ought never to have been 
married ; and the man who would sanction such a con- 
nection, will one day have a terrible account to render 
to God, unless, indeed, as is frequently the case, he can 
plead ignorance as an excuse." 

I have visited Mary Lee several times since, and 
have had occasion to admire the meekness and serenity 
which she ever manifests, though compelled frequently 
to endure the most excruciating pain ; and I am not 
ashamed to acknowledge that as I have listened to her 
simple and unaffected expressions of confidence in God, 
I have learned many salutary lessons, which I trust 

will not soon be forgotten. 



The following lines were written in reply to a ques- 
tion addressed to us by a lady, whom we had the plea- 
sure to meet while travelling on the Western Railroad. 
We give the question, as nearly as we can, verbatim : — 

"If you, sir, were permitted to see, for this day only, 
which, of the many beautiful objects by which you are 
surrounded, do you think would engage yom: undivided 

I dictated to my friend the following, which I pre- 
sented to the lady : — 

Oft I have wished in vain to view 

The earth, the sea, and sky, 
The pretty flowers, the lovely stars, 

That gladden every eye. 

But oftener far I 've yearned to see 

That home of love and grace. 
Where beauty ever sits enshrined, — 

A pretty maiden's face. 

And oh ! if I could see to-day, 

Fair one, I tell thee true ! 
I 'd turn from all the world away, 

And gaze alone on you ! 



I HAVE often heard it remarked that the habituai 
heerfulness of most bhnd persons seems truly astonish- 
ing ; but if we bear in mind that human happiness de- 
pends much more upon the condition of the head and 
heart than upon the external world, and that those 
who are in a measure cut off from the enjoyments de- 
rived from the contemplation of the physical world, 
have a keener appreciation of the pleasure arising from 
moral and intellectual pursuits, we shall have, I think, 
no difficulty in understanding how it happens that the 
blind are generally so happy. 

We would by no means countenance that common 
mistake, that those who are deprived of sight are not 
conscious of the magnitude of their misfortune, and that 
their happiness is but the result of their ignorance. So 
far from this, we believe that if most blind persons could 
be suddenly restored to sight, their first exclamation 
would be that of disappointment. We think, as a gen- 
eral rule, the advantages of sight are too much exag- 
gerated. We know that many persons, on reading the 
description of some foreign country, highly colored by 
some enthusiastic traveller, are very apt to be disap- 
pointed when an opportunity is afforded them of con- 
trasting with his description their own observations. 

Indeed, the actual seldom comes up to the picturing 
of our imaginations. The blind man, in his darkness, 
figures to himself a beautiful world ; but if he were per- 
mitted to see it, how often would its beauty be marred 
with darkness more teri^ible than that in lohich he is 
shrouded ! Besides, it must be remembered, that, with 


the aid of his other senses, he is enabled to obtain, not- 
withstanding his deprivation, a much more extensive 
knowledge of the material universe than one would 
upon first thought be apt to suppose. 

He has a correct idea of space, of form, and of beau- 
ty; and, by the means of association, even of color.* 
The great disadvantages to which the blind man is sub- 
jected, are, after all, not that he cannot behold objects 
around him, — not that he cannot look upon the earth, 
the sea, and the sky, — but that all the wants of society 
are so arranged as to require sight to supply them; — so 
that he finds it very difficult, and not unfrequently im- 
possible, to obtain for himself an honorable indepen- 
dence, and to render himself useful to others. 

When he can succeed in accomplishing this great 
object, there is no reason in the world why he may not 
be as happy and as joyous as the rest of mankind. 
The smile that wreathes the lip with gladness comes 
not from the sunshine without, but from within. 

The physical world is not beautiful until the soul has 
breathed upon it. The highest happiness of which we 
are capable can proceed only from the heart that has 
been sanctified by sorrow. 

There is, then, after all, not so great a mystery in the 
cheerfulness of the blind man. The happiness it im- 
parts is sometimes the only return he can make for the 
favors he receives from those around him. He has 
often a motive for being cheerful when in society. It is 
that he may avoid the attention which his niisfortune 
would otherwise attract, by manifesting how little ap- 
parent efiect it has on his oicn feelings and disposition. 

* It can, we think, be demonstrated, that there is something analo- 
gous between color and sound. Blue, for instance, corresponds Arith 
the tones of the flute, violet with the violin, &;c. 


Besides, it is the dictate of courtesy to suppress, in the 
company of others, all private feelings. The sedentary 
life to which he is not unfrequently subjected, and the 
great difficulty he sometimes finds in walking alone, 
often prevent him from taking that amount of physical 
exercise which health seems to require. Hence, in most 
blind persons, the natural tone of the nervous system is 
destroyed often before they arrive at manhood ; and if 
we take into consideration the fact that blindness is 
generally but one of the efiects of a cause which de- 
ranges, to a greater or less extent, all the physical func- 
tions, we can readily see why it is that the blind die at 
an earlier age than perhaps any other class of mankind. 

It would not, therefore, be strange, if they were some- 
times found peevish and fretful, since, in most other 
persons, these are usually the effects of the causes just 
referred to ; but in the blind they are modified, if not 
always entirely counteracted, by that habitual cheerful- 
ness of which we have spoken, and which undoubtedly 
arises from their ardent temperament and strong social 

It will not, I suppose, be denied but that the blind 
are more spiritual, — that their conceptions and ideas 
are less liable to be corrupted, and that the general flow 
of their thoughts is more uniform, than if they were per- 
mitted constantly to look upon the material world. 
They often manifest through life that buoyancy and 
joyousness of disposition which, in most persons, is 
confined to youth. 

The foregoing remarks will apply only to those who 
were either born blind, or were deprived of sight in 
early infancy, for it is only in such cases that blindness 
can exercise any considerable influence in forming the 


We can never be too grateful to God for so arranging 
the allotments of his providence that there is always 
something in the situation of every one which exerts an 
alleviating influence. We have seen that in the case 
of the blind man, it is cheerfulness. But this is not all ; 
we may instance his love of music, which is of itself a 
source of boundless enjoyment. If we add the innu- 
merable pleasures derived from a good education, which 
nearly every blind man at the present day may obtain, 
there would certainly seem to be no earthly reason why 
he should not enjoy a good share of the happiness of 
life. There is, indeed, one form of blindness that knows 
no mitigation. It is the blindness of those, " who, hav- 
ing eyes, see not," — who, though they can behold the 
beautiful earth and the serene sky, have never yet seen 
the Divine Being that created them, — who, though 
they can see the light of the natural sim, have never 
beheld the light that comes from the Sun of Righteous- 
ness. If there be a misfortune that calls for the heart's 
deepest pity, it is this. 



I STOOD, the other day, by the death-bed of a young 
and beautiful girl. We had been friends for many 
years, and the attachment which existed between us 
was that of brother and sister. Possessing a truly 
exalted mind, she called forth in me a feeling of admira- 
tion akin to that which the poets tell us the sons of God 
once felt for all her sex. I stood there almost the only 
mourner. She had lived in this darkened world but 
eighteen years; and though she possessed many rare 
attractions, and though the sweetness of her disposition 
was perhaps never surpassed save by Him whom we 
reverence as the perfect pattern of humanity, yet her 
acquaintance with the children of this world was lim- 
ited. Her nature was too pure — too ethereal, to impress 
common minds. There were, however, those who 
admired her, and who reverenced in her what, perhaps, 
they could not themselves equal. These assembled 
around her death-bed, to cheer her last hours with that 
consolation which Christian^tej^ alone can impart. It 
would-be difficult for me to convey, through the imper- 
fect medium of language, the impression made upon my 
mind by the events of that day, when she whom I had 
ever considered the perfect paragon of excellence closed 
her earthly pilgrimage, that her pure spirit might dwell 
with its God. But she is gone, — and the only satisfac- 
tion we can now enjoy, is in dwelling upon her virtues, 
and recording, for the benefit of others, some of the inci- 
dents of her eventful life. 

Mary liandon, for such was the name of our friend, 


"was early doomed to feel the power which suffering 
alone can exert upon the youthful heart. She had seen 
but seven summers when she was called to shed tears 
of regret, and to strew flowers of affection, upon the 
grave* of her sainted mother. She was hardly old 
enough, it is true, to appreciate the loss she had sus- 
tained, yet a void had been made in her young and 
susceptible heart, and she found . some consolation in 
this appropriate manifestation of her grief 

The father of Mary was a noble and kind-hearted 
man. For his daughter, he felt an affection which 
none but a parent can ever know. Possessing an ample 
fortune, he devoted his whole time to the education 
of his only child, and most amply were his efforts 
rewarded by the rapid attainments she made in her 
studies. Such was her advancement, that, at the age of 
ten years, her father found it necessary to place her 
under the direction of a teacher more competent than 
himself to finish her education. We need only remark 
that he selected for this purpose a lady every way 
qualified to discharge this high responsibility. Under 
the direction of her fair instructress, our young heroine 
made rapid progress in the sciences, and in those grace- 
ful accomplishments whicli are considered in our day 
the indispensable prerequisites of a female educa^n. 

At the age of fourteen, Mary was deprived by death 
of her only remaining parent, and consigned to the 
guardianship of her uncle. We will not pause here to 
tell how bitterly she wept when she foimd herself alone 
in the world, nor dwell upon the regrets she experienced 
on leaving the place which had so long been her home. 
To Mary the transition was great. Her own home was 
on the banks of the Merrimack, — that of her uncle on 
the banks of the Hudson. In order that the reader may 


iinderstand the incidents we are about to detail in rela- 
tion to our heroine, it is necessary we should describe 
the individual who was now her only protector. Mr. 
Landon, the uncle of Mary, was, at the time she entered 
his family, just passed the meridian of life. He was 
engaged in successful mercantile speculations, and was 
regarded by all who knew him as one of the richest 
men in his neighborhood. He seemed to have been 
formed by nature for the business in which he had 
spent most of his life. He was a cold and calculating 
man, and judged of everything by dollars and cents. 
At the time of his brother's death, he formed a plan to 
get possession of his property, and to accomplish this he 
was anxious that our heroine should become the wife 
of his only son. Accordingly, she had not been a 
member of his family many months, before he ventured 
to broach the subject, and with all the arguments whicli 
his knowledge of human nature enabled him to use, 
endeavored to persuade the young and artless girl to 
become the wife of one who could have no sympathy 
with her high endowments. Mary had not been long 
enough acquainted with the individual for whom her 
hand was solicited to judge of his character; and, 
besides, she thought she was too young to take upon 
herseH the responsibilities of married life. Subsequent 
acquaintance with her cousin assured her that he was 
not the man calculated to make any woman happy, 
and she therefore declined the proposals made to her, 
with all the delicacy, and at the same time with all the 
firmness, which the occasion required. Charles Landon 
was a young man who had just passed his minority. 
As his father was wealthy, he did not judge it necessary 
to learn a profession. He had indeed entered college, 
but was expelled the second year, in consequence of his 


immoral deportment. After this, his time was nsually 
spent in that London, or perhaps it should be more 
appropriately styled, that Babylon of the western world 
— New York city. Here he associated with those who, 
like himself, lived upon their fathers' wealth, frequent- 
ing those haunts of vice with which that den of iniquity 
abounds. At the time his father wished him to become 
the husband of his fair cousin, he was a confirmed sen- 
sualist. He looked upon a wife as a useless appen- 
dage, and was desirous of being married only that he 
might obtain the means more fully to gratify his vitiated 
taste and depraved desires. Though very young, Mary 
Landon, with a penetration far beyond her years, dis- 
covered the motives which actuated her avaricious 
guardian, and saw plainly that it was her money, and 
not her heart, that he would secure for his dissolute son. 
But, to do him justice, we would say he was not with- 
out his hopes that, could his niece be induced to comply 
with his proposals, she would exercise a powerful influ- 
ence in reclaiming his son. After many ineffectual 
attempts, however, to accomplish his object, he deter- 
mmed to do by force what he could not do by persua- 
sion. In the mean time, however, we will introduce to 
the reader another personage connected with the fate of 
our friend. Henry Morndale was a young man, about 
the age of Charles Landon, but his opposite in charac- 
ter. His father had bestowed upon him a liberal 
education, and at the time we speak, he bid fair to 
become a distinguished member of the New York bar. 
Though not an associate of Charles, he was a constant 
visitor at his father's house. He of course became 
acquainted with our young heroine, and was delighted 
with the rare talents manifested in one so young. As 
his acquaintance with her increased, he learned to 


esteem in her what is far more estimable in a lady than 
mere intellectual powers — that sweet and amiable dis- 
position for which she was always distinguished. 'Tis 
not, therefore, strange that Mr. Morndale should feel an 
attachment for one in whom he beheld all the attrac- 
tions calculated to render a truly noble man happy. 
He was, therefore, assiduous in bestowing upon Miss 
Ijandon all those polite attentions which a young lady 
has a right to expect, and which a true gentleman is 
always proud to bestow. It would be needless for me 
to add, that they were much in each other's society. 
They walked together and rode together, and there was, 
besides, great similarity of tastes between these two 
gifted beings. They admired the same poets, and sung 
the same songs. In short, the attachment of which we 
have spoken soon ripened into high regard, and high 
regard soon deepened into devoted love. Yes, dear 
reader, they loved with all the enthusiasm of which 
their young natures were susceptible. In a shady 
grove, on the banks of the beautiful Hudson, they 
plighted their vows. Alas ! how bitterly to be disap- 
pointed ; — but we will not anticipate. 

Mr. Landon perceived, with fiendish satisfaction, the 
intimacy which existed between his fair ward and the 
son of his old friend, and he rightly judged that he now 
had an opportunity to take his revenge for the scornful 
manner, as he called it, in which Miss Landon had 
rejected all proposals of marriage with his unprincipled 
son. Accordingly, one morning, calling her into his 
room, he briefly informed her that she had been labor- 
ing under a great mistake in supposing that the property 
of her father had become hers as his only heir. "Pri- 
vate considerations," continued he, "induced your 
father to bequeath his property to me, knowing, of 


course, what my generosity would dictate when yoti 
should become a wife; nay, more," he said, perceiving 
the effect he had already produced upon the innocent 
being before him, "it was your father's desire, or at 
least his expectation, that you would become the wife 
of my son, and he made this arrangement with a view 
of overcoming your frivolous scruples. I was in hopes 
that you would have accepted my son, and then the 
property v/ould have reverted to you, and you would 
have been spared" — affecting a sympathy he never felt 
— "this painful intelligence." 

What were the feelings this speech awakened in the 
bosom of Miss Landon, it would be difhcult to tell. It 
is certain she did not shed a tear, nor manifest, by any 
outward sign, that she at all regretted the arrangement 
of her father. She simply remarked to her uncle that 
she hoped he would show himself worthy the confi- 
dence her father had reposed in him. " I shall deem it 
my duty," said her uncle, "to inform Mr. Morndale of 
the circumstances of the case; for, from appearances, I 
have no doubt that he is laboring under a mistaken 
idea that with your hand he can obtain the property of 
your father." To this remark his niece made no reply, 
but bade him " good morning," and left the room. 

Mr. Landon was completely disappointed; his vil- 
lany did not have the effect he expected. Sendmg for 
his son, he informed him that every effort to induce 
Miss Landon to consent to unite her destinies with his 
had been ineffectual. "Perhaps," said he, "you can 
do more for yourself than I can do for you. Perhaps 
you can induce her to commit herself Can you not 
manage her as you do some of your city girls 1 Do 
you understand me, sir?" "I think I do, father," was 
the reply. " Still, there are many difficulties. There 


is something in the glance of her eye that makes me 
stand abashed before her. However, I will see what I 
can do. Something must be done, or that young gen- 
tleman of the bar will get her hand as he has her heart, 
in spite of me." The father and son then separated; 
the former admonished the latter to be cautious. 

Miss Landon embraced the first opportunity to com- 
municate an account of her interview v\rith her uncle to 
her lover, and ask his advice as to the course which 
she should pursue. " I think," said Morndale, with 
that candor which always characterizes a truly noble 
mind, " that your uncle — pardon me for the expression 
■ — is a consummate scoundrel. He could not help per- 
ceiving the regard I felt for you, and he supposed me a. 
mean-souled wretch like himself, incapable of loving 
aught but your fortune in prospective. But if," said 
he, gazing upon her with a tenderness which told how 
deeply she was beloved, "it shall be my good fortune 
to have you for my wife, I ask nothing more. I trust," 
said he, "I shall ever be able, by my humble abilities, 
and with what wealth I possess, to administer to your 
every want. So you need give yourself no uneasiness 
in reference to your uncle's designs. They will not 
affect me. Let us wait a few days, and we may be 
able to understand more fully the plans which your 
uncle intends to pursue." 

One day, sometime after the interview we have just 
described, Miss Landon was sitting in the parlor of her 
uncle, attentively perusing an article in a periodical, 
from the pen of young Morndale, when her attention 
was attracted by the entrance of her cousin, who 
advanced towards her with a beautiful bouquet, of which 
he begged her acceptance. As this act manifested more 
courtesy and politeness than she had ever witnessed in 


him before, she at once accepted it. Taking a seat on 
the sofa beside her, he began his conversation by some 
inquiries relative to the periodical which lay upon her 
lap. After his inquiries upon this subject were satis- 
fied, he said, "I am glad, my dear cousin, to find you 
alone. I have long been seeking an opportunity to 
declare to you, more fully than I have ever yet done, the 
deep and devoted love which your beauty and accom- 
plishments have inspired in my breast. Why is it" — 
attempting to take her hand in his — '^that you will 
continue to reject the honorable solicitations I have so 
frequently made for your hand? Is it because you are 
incapable of feeling the heaven-bom passion with which 
I am inspired? No!" said he, "I will not, I cannot 
believe it. Surely, one so lovely cannot long remain 
insensible to devotion enkindled by her own tran- 
scendent beauty." With the impudence of a libertine, 
he now attempted to pass his arm around her waist. 
At this instant, however, she arose and stood before 
him in all the majesty of conscious virtue. '' Charles," 
she said, with a countenance speaking more plainly 
than words could express, the indignation she felt, 
"you have forfeited all claims to my respect. I know 
you better than you think I do ; and I wish you now 
distinctly to understand that the man whom I shall 
consider worthy of my love must pursue a course alto- 
gether different from that which has marked your life 
since I became an inmate of your father's house. But 
in order that I may no more be troubled with your 
importunities, I tell you, sir, that the pretended attach- 
ment you feel for me can never be reciprocated." He 
attempted to reply, but she immediately left the room. 
The effect of her words was only to increase the pas- 
sion of the libertine, and he determined to make another, 


and, as he trusted, more successful attempt upon her 

Nea,rly three years had now elapsed since Miss I <an- 
don became a member of her uncle's family. She had 
employed most of that time in the cultivation of those 
kindly feelings which bring with them their own 
reward. She was daily accustomed to visit the abodes 
of poverty and wretchedness, and manifest, by her 
munificence and sympathy, that she who suffered could 
feel for the sufferings of others. She was regarded by 
the simple-hearted villagers as the guardian angel of 
their village. She was, as it may well be supposed, a 
frequent visitor at the house of Henry's father, and in 
the society of Mrs. Morndale and her young and amia- 
ble daughter, she found that happiness which she could 
not enjoy in her uncle's family. 

It must not be expected that we can give a minute 
detail of all that our young friend suffered during the 
few years she remained under the roof of her unnatural 
guardian ; nor does it comport with our plan to dwell 
upon the various stratagems by which he hoped to 
compel his niece to submit to his unreasonable require- 
ments. We will therefore proceed to relate the circum- 
stances which conspired to induce Miss Landon to leave 
forever the place which had been to her anything but 
a happy home, and to place herself under the protection 
of those who could feel for her sufferings, and guard 
her from further insults. 

Not far from the home of Mr. Landon, and upon the 
margin of the beautiful river to which we have more 
than once referred, was the favorite retreat of our two 
young lovers. Here, accompanied by Henry, Miss 
Landon was accustomed to resort, that she might enjoy 
those beautiful scenes which can be appreciated only 


by those who have stood upon the banks of the Hudson 
at the hour of sunset. One day, as she sat intently 
gazing upon the beautiful prospect before her, and 
anxiously waiting for him who had now become the 
centre of all her affections, her attention was suddenly 
attracted by the rustling of the leaves, and on turning 
round she discovered her cousin, who, without saying a 
word, approached, and throwing his arms around her 
beautiful neck, and endeavoring to stifle her cries for 
assistance, attempted to consummate his wicked and 
malicious designs upon her person. The poor girl gave 
one shriek, and in an instant the spoiler was lying 
senseless at her feet. Now it happened, at the time 
Charles Landon left his father's home with the foul 
purpose of insulting his cousin, he was perceived by 
Henry Morndale, who carefully watched all his move- 
ments. When he beheld him enter the grove, he 
rightly divined his purpose. As soon, therefore, as he 
heard the shriek of the young lady, he rushed to the 
spot, and with one stroke of his cane brought the villain 
to the ground. The next moment the lovers were 
clasped in each other's embrace. 

This disgraceful affair was immediately communi- 
cated to Mr. Landon by the father of Henry Morndale, 
and that gentleman further informed him that the 
young lady had fled to his home for protection, and that 
there she should remain, where she would ever find 
friends to protect her, — "And where, I suppose you 
mean," interrupted Mr. Landon, "she will soon find a 
husband." "In six months more," replied Mr. Morn- 
dale, "your guardianship over the young lady will 
close by limitation, and then I presume she can marry 
if she chooses." "I would suggest," said Landon, 
with a significant look, "if she is to marry yowr son, 


she had better be married before." " Your cauticn, 
sir," retorted Morndale, with a look implying that he 
understood the base insinuation, "had better be exerted 
for your own son, — mine, sir, is fully capable of vindi- 
cating his high character as a gentleman and a man of 
honor." As he said this, he left Mr. Landon to his own 
reflections, and these, forsooth, were not of the most 
pleasant nature. All his infamous plans with regard to 
his niece had failed, and his son, in the eyes of all hon- 
orable men had become unworthy of respect and esteem. 
What else he might have been tempted to do, to retain 
the property which of right belonged to his niece, it is 
difiicult to say, had not the losses which he sustained 
in his business drawn his attention in another direc- 

In the mean time Miss Landon remained at the house 
of her protector, enjoying that quiet happiness to which 
she had been a stranger since the death of her venerated 
father. Every day she spent hours with her lover, and 
enjoyed those sweet interchanges of thought and of feel- 
ing, which can be appreciated only by hearts sympa- 
thetically tuned in unison with each other. The day 
was fixed on which their nuptials were to be celebrated, 
and they both looked forward to it with that joyous 
anticipation which can be felt only by young and inno- 
cent hearts. It would be well, perhaps, for the happi- 
ness of many, if marriage was not always considered 
the highest attainment of earthly felicity, since, as it too 
often happens, it is but the beginning of the misery of 
life. But we must go on with our story. 

The enjoyment of Miss Landon was now marred 
only by the fear that her cousin, defeated in his attempts 
upon her virtue, would seek revenge upon her deliverer. 
Indeed, Henry Morndale had received several chal- 


ienges from him, couched in insulting language, which 
he treated with the contempt they deserved. Though 
three months were yet to elapse before the happiness of 
the affianced couple was to be consummated, yet the notes 
of preparation for their wedding day had already been 
sounded in the happy home of Mr. Morndale. One day, 
while looking for some ornaments worn by her sainted 
mother, and which were handed to her by her father at 
his death, with the injunction that they should not be 
examined until she should nee4 them to adorn her per- 
son when led to the hymeneal altar, she discovered that 
the paper in which they were carefully enclosed was 
no other than a copy of her father's last will and testa- 
ment, by which his property, amounting to seventy 
thousand dollars, invested principally in real estate, war 
bequeathed, without reservation or condition, to his only 
child. She then understood the extent of her rmcle's 
wickedness, and felt how deeply he had wronged her. 
But she thought no more of the suffering he had caused, 
nor dwelt upon the scenes of the past. For her, there 
was a bright future, or, at least, so it then seemed, and 
she lived only in the joyousness of anticipation. But 
one image was enshrined in her heart, — but one bright 
thought filled her imagination. Her happiness, her 
existence, her all, was centred in one, and that one 
was Henry Morndale. Her affection, deep and intense 
as it was, was fully reciprocated by him upon whom it 
was bestowed. But the love they felt for each other 
was too bright, too pure for earth. It was such as may 
be enjoyed only by those ethereal beings who never felt 
the touch of sorrow, or shed the bitter tear of regret. 

Reader, hast thou ever looked upon a delicate flower, 
which blooms, and fades, and dies, in the brief space of 


a day ? — if thou hast, in it thou hast beheld a beautiful 
emblem of human felicity, 

" In six weeks more, Mary," said Henry Momdale, 
as one day she sat by his side, " six weeks more, and 
you are mine." A beautiful smile, more eloquent than 
words, told how ardently she, too, longed for that hour ; 
and the glance of her deep blue eye spoke the intensity 
of thoughts and feelings that language can never but 
imperfectly express. 

O how sad is the life of him who has never beheld 
the glance of affection ! who may never see the face of 
a friend ! * 

"'Tis strange, 'tis very strange !" said Mr. Morn- 
dale one day, dropping the newspaper which he had 
been intently reading ; "What can that mean?" said 
he to his son, who had taken up the paper and com- 
menced reading the paragraph which had occasioned 
the expressions of surprise. "Why, it means, father," 
rephed his son, with, it must be confessed, a smile of 
satisfaction, " why it means that — but I will read the 
paragraph for the benefit of the company, and all, I 
dare say, can understand it." 

"Melancholy Suicide. — We regret to learn that 
Charles Landon, Esq., who has of late been exten- 
sively engaged in mercantile speculations, and who was 
extensively concerned in several houses in this city, 
committed suicide last evening, by hanging himself in 
the attic of his counting-house. His body was discov- 
ered at a late hour by one of the clerks in the establish- 
ment. An inquest was holden upon the body this 
morning. Verdict of the jury — 'Death by faicide, 
while laboring under mental depression, caused by 

* The writer of this, it will be recollected, has been totally blind from 


extensive losses.' We learn, in addition to the above 
that the deceased has suffered much from domestic 
difficulties, which probably contributed to hasten this 
melancholy termination of his life." 

The reading of this paragraph was scarcely finished, 
when the company was thrown into the deepest con- 
sternation by the bursting in of one of the doors of the 
apartment, through which rushed Charles Landon, and 
deliberately aiming a loaded pistol at the head of Henry 
Morndale ; before he could be prevented, the contents 
were lodged in the young man's head. The unfortu- 
nate victim reeled back and fell upon the floor a lifeless 
corpse, while the daring assassin fled from the house, 
exclaiming in fiendish triumph, '■'•I have got my revenge ! 
I have got my revenged'' It would be difficult to 
depict the heart-rending scene which ensued. Mary 
Landon — poor girl, what language can describe the 
misery she endured in that dreadful hour ! Her cup of 
bitterness was full. She threw herself in frantic despair 
upon the body of her lover, exclaiming, " They have 
killed you, my Henry ! they have killed you !" 

Attracted by the noise, the neighbors soon filled the 
house ; but it was in vain they attempted to console the 
afflicted family. The grief, the agony manifested in 
every countenance, the tears of the mother and sister, 
the frantic cries of the delirious Mary, together with the 
half suppressed groans of the wretched father, rendered 
the scene truly appalling. The surgeon, who had been 
sent for by the neighbors, soon arrived ; but, alas ! his 
assistaiiJiB was not needed. The murderer had been 
but too successful. 

As soon as the confusion had in some degree sub- 
sided, the body of the unfortunate young man was 


removed to another apartment, and Miss Landon, hav- 
ing in some degree recovered, was persuaded to leave 
him ; not, however, until she had enjoyed the melan- 
choly satisfaction of closing with her own fingers those 
eyes which had so often reflected back the form of her 
whom he had so deeply and so truly loved. 

We will now leave the house of affliction, and follow 
to his end the libertine and the murderer. Aware that 
he should be pursued, and, if taken, punished for his 
crimes, Charles Landon attempted to reach New York 
city as soon as he had perpetrated the deed of blood. 
In a few hours he succeeded in doing so, but justly con- 
cluding that he could not long find a place of conceal- 
ment here, he succeeded in finding a small vessel bound 
to Texas, in which he took passage. Before, however, 
she reached her port of destination, he became involved 
in a dispute with one of his fellow-passengers, — a 
Spaniard, who, like himself, was a desperate man; and 
before any person on board could interfere, the bowie- 
knife of the Spaniard had entered his heart. Thus the 
murderer met the murderer's fate. Thus crime ever 
brings with it its appropriate reward. 

Let us return once more to the abode of sufiering, 
and view the concluding scene of our sad and tragical 
story. Gladly, indeed, would I drop the curtain, but 
justice to the interest which I am sure the reader must 
feel in the fate of our young and beautiful herome, 
demands I should say something of the last hours of her 
sad and eventful life. 

For nearly a month after the murdered Morndale 
had been consigned to the tomb, she moved ^jjbund 
among her friends, but it was apparent to all eyes that 
she soon would follow her lover. Day by day she 
became more feeble. For hours at a time, she would 


sit gazing vacantly around her, as if in search of some 
lost but cherished object. But soon her fragile form, 
worn upon by grief, lost its fair proportions ; her step, 
once so joyous, its elasticity; and her sparkling eye 
became dim, or lit up with an unnatural brightness. 
On the morning of the day which was to have wit- 
nessed the celebration of her nuptials, impressed with a 
conviction it was the last she should spend on earth, 
she summoned her few remaining friends to her bed- 
side. With a voice that had in it more of heaven than 
of earth, she said, " This day was to have witnessed the 
realization of all my fondest anticipations. But Heaven 
hath decreed it otherwise. Yet ere the last rays of this 
diay's sun shall gild with their fading brightness the 
verdant hill-top, my spirit will be wedded to Henry in 
the paradise of God." It was a sad sight to behold one 
so young, so innocent, and so beautiful, thus prema- 
turely dying of a broken heart. Yet all who witnessed 
the scene felt that it was well, — that her virtues were 
of too exalted a character to bloom in this dark, cold 
world. In her thin, delicate hand, she held the blue 
violet of May, not an unappropriate emblem of her 
fading loveliness. 

After directing that she should be buried beside the 
grave of her Henry, she took his miniature in her hand, 
and gazing upon it with an intensity that can never be 
described, and as if she would recall in an instant all 
his fond looks of affection, she attempted to give utter- 
ance to her emotions; but the exertion was too much. 
In feeble accents she exclaimed, — a smile of satisfac- 
tion laming upon her countenance, " I am going." 
Then, pressing the miniature to her bosom, she gave one 
look of melting tenderness upon her friends, her pure 
spirit burst its bands, and soared to dwell forever with 
her Henry in the presence of their God ! 



On thy pale brow the glossy hair, 

More dark than raven's wing, 
As if it loved to linger there, 

Like some enchanted thing. 

The home of thought, that lofty brow, 

In snowy whiteness gleams ; 
The throne of intellect, — we bow 

To it by day in dreams. 

In quiet hours thine eye is bright, 

And glows with light serene ; 
But changing oft, in glances wild, 

A brighter ray is seen. 

More merry than the dancing wave, 

Flashing with star-light gleam ; 
When sunbeams glide o'er plain and cave. 

Or glance along the stream. 

Thy cheek all tinted with the hue 

That summer roses wear. 
When gentle showers their bloom renew, 

Or cool, refreshing air. 

Thy lips are like the coral red. 

With gleaming pearls between. 
Where radiant thoughts, within thee bred, 

In sunny smiles are seen. 


A holy temple is thy mind. 

Sacred to purity. 
Where every virtue sits enshrined « 

In maiden modesty. 


Its priest is a deep-feeling heart, 
That mourns for others' woes, 

Prepared its solace to impart, 
Hope's prospects to disclose. 

Deep thought, that temple's incense, rise 

Offering of inward worth, 
From the heart's altar to the skies. 

Too pure to dwell on earth. 

Its victims the dread passions are, — 

They immolated lie, — 
Whose rage consumes, with mortal care, 

Deep founts of human sighs. 

Blind to the charm of loveliness, 
^'; Proof against sympathy. 

Unmoved by ought of tenderness. 
Dead to all purity, — 

Lifeless and cold his heart must be, 

Who never felt he loved ; 
And never, while he looked on thee, 

A ffection's power did prove. 

For thee no earthly passion burns, 

No common love is thine ; 
For thy adorer proudly turns 

From sin's unworthy shrine. 

Low thoughts, that fill the earth-bom souls, 

He must drive far away ; 
And when pure feeling ceaseless rolls, 

He feels he loves for aye. 



Of all the places I have ever visited, none ever made 
so deep an impression, or will be remembered with 
more satisfaction, than the beautiful village of Geneva, 
New York. Tt is located on the borders of Seneca Lake, 
a beautiful sheet of water, some forty miles in extent. 

Nothing can exceed the enchanting view from that 
part of the village that overlooks the lake, from the 
margin of which the ground gradually rises, until you 
reach the centre of the place, or the principal street, 
which is adorned on either side with the elegant resi- 
dences of its opulent citizens, many of whom are retired 
merchants, who have spent the most of their lives in the 
city of New York, and, having acquired a fortune, have 
sought repose for the rest of their days in this retired 

The sloping ground that overlooks the lake is, for the 
most part, adorned v/ith flower-gardens, displaying great 
taste, and contributing not a little to ornament the vil- 
lage. Here you will find the violet and the rose, the 
pink and the dahlia, the honey-suckle and jessamine, and 
a thousand more of those beautiful things that adorn the 
earth, delight the eye, and gladden the heart. 

It is pleasant to wander, as I have done, on a sum- 
mer's day, along the winding paths of these terrace-gar- 
dens, to inhale the perfume of the flowers, and feel upon 
your cheek the soft breeze that comes over the cool wa- 
ters of the lake ; and it is delightful for those that can 
see, to stand there at evening, if it is only to view the 
moonbeams, like elves and fairies, dancing and frolick- 


ing upon the quiet waters, and to reflect that there, long 
ago, the Indian youth and the Indian maiden met in the 
stillness of night to plight their vows of constancy and 

It may in truth be said, that Geneva, in picturesque 
beauty, is unsurpassed by any other village of our coun- 
try. The most of its inhabitants lead a quiet life. It 
is, however, a place of some business. 

Geneva has a college ; both the medical and literary 
departments enjoy a high character. 

It is the residence of the Bishop of Western New 
York, and several other distinguished persons, who give 
tone and character to its society, which has always en- 
joyed reputation for its hospitality and high cultivation. 

We once resided there for a short period, and we 
cherish in our hearts grateful recollections of the friends 
who proved themselves such by many acts of kindness. 

It may be our lot to visit many parts of the world, 
but we shall always carry with us the pleasant memo- 
ries and the pleasing associations that cluster around 
the name of Geneva. 



Every period in the history of the world has some- 
thing in it pecuhar to itself. Every century seems to 
have its own definite character. Not that it is discon- 
nected from that which preceded it, nor that its character 
is not in a measure formed from all that is gone before ; 
yet it has a definite character of its own, which marks its 
individuality with as much certainty as the contour of 
form and the peculiarity of the countenance distinguish 
one man from another. We read of the age of iron, the 
age of brass, the golden age, <fec. Now, these terms 
express the character of the different eras to which they 
are applied. We also speak of the Christian era ; and 
when we refer to St. Augustine's day, we say it was 
the age of faith. We all know what is meant by the 
middle or dark ages. By what term sufficiently com- 
prehensive shall we distinguish the age in which we 
live 7 We hear it called by some an age of invention ; 
by others, an age of benevolence. One man says it is 
an age of discovery ; another affirms it an age of re- 
form. Each one endeavors to express what it appears 
to him from his own peculiar point of view. The con- 
servative sadly fears that the age is deteriorating ; the 
reformer declares it is an age of progress; while the 
modest eclectic says it is a transition age. 

In politics, philosophy, literature, and religion, the 
different phases indicated by these terms are pointed to 
with more or less distinctness by those who from their 
several stand-points are led to view this or that aspect 
within their own circumscribed sphere. In this essay, 


we shall confine our observations to the two great par- 
ties, whose views, upon nearly all the subjects discussed 
at the present day, and which, whether settled or not, 
give character to our time, are diametrically opposed to 
each other: — the conservative and the radical. We 
would premise, in the outset, that our sympathies are 
with neither of these parties exclusively. We cheerfully 
grant that there are men who range themselves under 
the banners of each, actuated by sincere motives, hav- 
ing pure purposes and lofty aims, and who labor assid- 
uously for what they believe will be the most conducive 
to the happiness and welfare of their race ; still, we are 
compelled to differ from them in regard to almost all of 
those unsettled questions, upon which, with our limited 
advantages, we have been able to form a definite opinion. 
We dislike, on the one hand, the prejudices of that man 
who can see no good but in the past. We equally dis- 
like, on the other hand, the flippancy of him who rejects 
with disdain the wisdom contained in the oracles of 
other days. These two men often verify a trite adage, 
that "extremes often meet." 

It is not uncommon for those who, in the commence- 
ment, occupy entirely different ground in the discussion 
of any of the great questions of the day, to find them- 
selves, before they get through, in the same identical 
position. Thus the German philosophers, dreading 
what they believe to be the inevitable result of Locke's 
system, commence by denouncing it in toto; they went, 
as a natural consequence, to the opposite extreme, and, 
for fear of giving too great a prominence to the objec- 
tive, confined their speculations almost entirely to the 
subjective. During the last half century, the advocates 
of both schools have been gradually receding from the 
antagonistical positions which they at first occupied, 

THE AGE. 129 

and approximating slowly but surely toward a medium 
position. Who that has read Locke and Kant has not 
become convinced that the truth lies somewhere be- 
tween them 1 And who can fail to see that the respec- 
tive theories of both these great men have led to results 
M^hich certainly thep never contemplated 7 The mate- 
rial philosophy on the one hand, and the ultra spiritual 
or transcendental on the other, leads precisely to the 
same result — sensualism and infidelity. In proof of 
this, we need only point to the notorious fact, that there 
is but very little if any difference between French athe- 
ism and German rationalism. It is certainly something 
to be said in favor of the latter, that it does not expose 
its native deformity; that it wraps itself in a more 
comely garb, and makes use of more consecrated terms ; 
— but the former is less liable to do injury, by its un- 
blushing avowal of principles at which the clear head 
and the sound heart revolts with horror. 

If we examine minutely the speculations which have 
employed the noblest intellects of the present day, both 
in Europe and in this country, we find they are identi- 
cally the same with those to which the philosophers of 
former ages devoted so much time in the investigation, 
and with about as much success. The questions which 
Plato and Aristotle discussed with so much earnestness, 
are many of them still unsettled at the present day. 

After reading all the standard works upon intel- 
lectual philosophy, how little do we know of the work- 
ings of the mysterious and unfathomable mind ! How 
utterly incapable are we to explain the mental phenom- 
ena, and that wonderful process of thought which every 
consciousness perceives, but which none are able fully 
to analyze and explain ! How pitiable seems the affec- 
tation of those philosophers, who profess to explain, 


with SO much exactness, the laws of mind, and who 
labor to support their own peculiar theory by denounc- 
ing all others ! * 

There is a refined smartness and a lurking egotism 
pervading the writings of Cousin, Jouffroy, Carlyle, 
Emerson, and others of the same school, quite unlike 
the spirit that pervades the works of Stuart, Brown, and 
other metaphysicians of the English school. It has be- 
come quite fashionable of late to denounce, in no un- 
measured terms, the metaphysicians of the old school. 

We have heard a disciple of Gall and Spurzheim 
demolish, in one lecture, to his own satisfaction, half 
a score of the most eminent philosophers the world has 
ever known. The term philosopher once had a signifi- 
cance ; it Avas applied to men whose whole lives were 
devoted to the study of nature and her laws ; but now, 
alas ! it is not unfrequently applied to those pigmy 
scholars, whose reading has been confined to the few 
works in the English language, where German philoso- 
phy, reproduced, is put forth as something truly won- 
derful and original. You will hear them talk of the 
subjective and objective, of the absolute and the infinite, 
of the Divine impulses, — the spiritual sunshine of the 
Great Unknown, &c., &c., as if their capacious minds 
had succeeded in grasping all the truth in heaven and 
earth, in man and in nature. If you ask them what 
they mean by their unintelligible jargon, with a look of 
ineffable pity and a sigh for your deplorable ignorance, 
they say you are not sufficiently spiritual to comprehend 
them; — they speak and write for other times; — the 
men are yet to come who will truly interpret them ; — 
there are enough to attend to the wants of the present 

♦ See Jouffroy's Lectures, translated by William H. Channing. 

THE AGE. 131 

age; — theirs is the task to enlighten coming genera- 

We would by no means speak disparagingly of the 
spiritual j^hilosophy ; it is unfortunate that its defence 
has been intrusted to such as those indicated by the pre- 
ceding remarks ; but he who confounds it with modern 
transcendentalism is sadly mistaken; they are quite 
distinct from each other. 

There is yet another class of philosophers at the pres- 
ent day, of whom we wish to say something. They 
call themselves Reformers, and " their name is Legion." 
Some of them advocate the notions of Ann Lee; some 
contend for the principles of Robert Owen ; while others 
defend the speculations of Charles Fourier. They dif- 
fer from each other as widely as those they profess to 
follow differed in intellectual and moral capacity. They 
all, however, come under the generic term of Socialists, 
and agree in nothing but in denouncing the present state 
of society. Their philosophy (if, indeed, they can be 
said to have any) seems to be based on utilitarianism 
and selfishness. They maintain that the present rela- 
tions existing between man and man are antagonistical. 
They assert, and with great apparent sincerity, that the 
present evils of society are not inherent, but grow out 
of the unnatural condition in which man is placed. 
Poverty they declare to be but one of the defects of a 
general evil pervading all our social institutions. It 
can only be removed v/hen there is a thorough radical 
change brought about, by a complete abolition of the 
present order of things, and this they propose to do in 
various ways. We cannot go into detail further than 
to remark, that the followers of Ann Lee, or the Sha- 
kers, have succeeded in establishing several small com- 
munities, in which all property is held in common. It 


must, however, be apparent to every one, that, if all 
their principles should become universal, the race would 
soon become extinct, and there would, of course, be no 
need of social reform. 

Mr. Owen is still living. He has devoted many years 
to an ineffectual attempt to give to the world a practical 
demonstration of what he believes to be the beneficent 
result of his theory. 

His philosophy is practical atheism. Man he regards 
as a creature of circumstance, — a mere machine, whose 
actions can possess no moral quality. It would seem 
that a mere statement of these opinions would be suffi- 
cient for their complete refutation ; yet they have been 
adopted and advocated by men of great intellectual 
ability, in France, in England, and in the United 
States; but it will be very long, we trust, before the 
average of mankind can be brought to believe opinions 
so dangerous in their tendency. 

Fourierism, as it is called, is, we believe, at present 
the most popular form of socialism among the reformers 
of our own country. Several efforts have been made in 
difterent parts of the United States to actualize the 
dreams of the greatest visionary of modern times, — for 
what can the speculations of Charles Fourier be called 
but dreams? It is proper here to remark, that those 
who claim to be preeminently socialists have publicly 
disclaimed the appellation of Fourierites, though believ- 
ing firmly in his scheme for the regeneration of society. 

It would occupy too large a space, were we to attempt 
to give anydiing like an analysis of that complicated 
system, which, it is said, if it could be reduced to prac- 
tical operation, would remove most of those social evils 
which now afflict the world. 

The great error of the socialists seems to be, that they 

THE AGE, 133 

regard man too much as a social being, as a mere con- 
stituent part of society. They seem to us to overlook 
his distinctive individual personality. They say that 
with certain artificial arrangements, systematized in 
conformity to what they call passional attractions, all 
the wants of man as a physical, intellectual, moral, so- 
cial, and religious being, can be attained. It is in vain 
you suggest the idea that society, as we find it, has 
grown up in accordance with the wants of man, bear- 
ing upon it, of course, the impress of his imperfections ; 
— they will still maintain that the socit' evils with 
which the world is afflicted are the results of a false 
and unnatural organism. Their whole system seems 
to be predicated upon the presumption, that happiness is, 
or should be, the end and aim of life. We have read 
some of their pamphlets, in which they profess to give 
an exposition of their views, and we confess we could 
not avoid the impression, that we were readmg the ap- 
peals of an ingenious epicurean. However, we freely 
acknowledge, we may have been liable to be influenced 
by our preconceived opinions. It cannot, however, we 
think, be denied, that most of the arguments employed 
by the socialists are addressed almost exclusively to 
self-interest and the love of pleasure. 

Though we cannot but regard the system we have 
now been considering as chimerical and fallacious, as 
a whole, yet we would by no means identify ourselves 
with those who indiscriminately denounce it ; much less 
would we impugn the motives of many of its advo- 
cates. The evils of which they complain are indeed 
gigantic. The amount of suffering to which a large 
portion of mankind are subjected is truly appalling, and 
he who can contrive any means of diminishing it is 
indeed a benefactor of his race. 


"Without doubt, Charles Fourier has given to the 
world many useful hints upon political economy. 
Many suggestions which he has made in regard to the 
relations which at present exist between labor and cap- 
ital, deserve to be seriously considered by the legislator 
and the philanthropist; but it is taxing human credulity 
too much to ask mankind to accept his system as a 

Thus we have spoken of transcendentalism and of 
Fourierism. Our remarks upon both these systems 
have been necessarily brief, for it is not our object to go 
into a minute exposition of any particular system, but 
to barely notice those prevailing ones at the present 
day, the discussion of which seems to indicate the great 
problem, which it is the mission of our age to solve. 

We will now offer a few remarks upon that party 
who stand opposed to those we have already mentioned, 
but who are nevertheless exerting an important influ- 
ence in deciding the character of the age ; for, like the 
centripetal and the centrifugal forces in nature, the 
conservative and radical parties balance each other, 
promoting harmony and order, where, but for their 
combined influence, there would be disorder and confu- 
sion, which is always sure to be the case when either 
one of them is in the ascendant. 

The stand-still party, as it is called, prides itself on 
its opposition to every innovation. It fixes its eyes 
upon the majestic past, and regards him as presump- 
tuous and visionary who ventures to pry into the future. 
It searches for wisdom onl]^ among the records of an- 
tiquity, — it can see nothing to admire in the movements 
of the present day. It laughs at the idea of progress, 
and talks only of the corruption of our times. It trem- 
bles at every new experiment; but defends or apolo- 

THE AGE. 135 

gizes for everything that can boast of antiquity. It 
has, however, this advantage over the movement party, 
that it oftener affirms than denies. 

The conservative of the present day is doing much to 
check the excesses of that party whose only hope is in 
change and revolution; — who seeks to destroy rather 
than to build up ; who can see but little good in what- 
ever time has consecrated. 

Viewed separately, it would perhaps be difficult to 
tell which was doing most good, the conservative or the 
radical. As it is, however, the one not unfrequently 
counteracts the evil of the other, so that the age is ben- 
efited by their united action. 

The conservative at the present day, as a philoso- 
pher, is a disciple of Locke. He scouts the idea that 
any part of our knowledge is obtained by intuition. 
He knows nothing but what he perceives by his senses. 
He talks of the benefits conferred upon the race by the 
investigation of the exact sciences and their application 
to the mechanical arts. He points the dreamy tran- 
scend entalist to the railroad and the magnetic tele- 
graph, and, with a feeling of pride, asks what German 
philosophy has done that will compare with the advan- 
tages which they confer. In whatever he does, he 
searches for a precedent ; he thinks, and acts, and 
speaks, as his fathers did before him. As a philanthro- 
pist, he sometimes labors, but always in the same man- 
ner as those who have preceded him. He is frequently 
found to be a shrewd, calculating man, but generally 
sincere. When assailed, as he often is unjustly, by the 
radical, with the epithets of bigot, pharisee, hypocrite, 
<fcc., he can always return the compliment by h\irling 
at his opponent the dreaded epithets of Jacobin, atheist, 
infidel, and the like. There is usually about as much 


truth in one case as in the other. As no man can in 
Justice claim that he has been made the exclusive repos- 
itory of the truth, neither can any party arrogate to 
itself a// that is just and right. It would be difficult to 
decide which of the contending parties at the present 
day is most obnoxious to the charge of dogmatism. It 
is far more reasonable to believe that they both have a 
mission to perform, and that it is easiest attained by 
each adhering to its own distinctive ideas. 

We have thus endeavored to delineate what seem to 
us to be the tAvo great elements in the character of our 
times. We have spoken of them in a general way; but 
they are seen in every department of life, — in church 
and state, in philosophy and in literature; there are 
few that occupy neutral ground. 

The churchman, the statesman, the reviewer, the ed- 
itor, the pamphleteer, — all range themselves in one oi 
the other of the great parties that are contending for 
what they believe will best advance the happiness of 
man and the glory of the age. 

There is no question, at the present day, but what is 
freely and openly discussed. Principles which, until 
now, were thought to have been forever settled, are 
keenly and critically examined, and are condemned or 
extolled as they harmonize or conflict with the prevail- 
ing opinions of this or that party. 

The power of combination was never rendered more 
effective than at the present moment. The opmion of 
the individual usually expresses the opmion of some 
clique. Independent thinkers are extremely rare. 
Hence it is often said that this is not an original age. 
All problems are decided by public opinion; — this is, 
with us, the ultimate tribunal. 

Without yielding implicit faith in all that the radical 

THE AGE. 137 

claims for the present age, and equally rejecting the 
dark views of the too cautious conservative, we are still 
compelled to admit that it has a high and glorious mis- 
sion; and that the condition of mankind, upon the 
whole, is far better than at any previous period ; and 
that there are now active agencies in operation, that 
seem to indicate a bright and an auspicious future. 



Human nature is not all depraved. We are some- 
times led to contemplate an* action that springs from 
the pure impulses of an uncorrupted heart. Amidst 
the intense selfishness of life, we are sometimes per- 
mitted to witness acts of disinterestedness, — of pure 
devotion, — which seem to say that there yet burns deep 
in the human heart the unquenchable fire of love. We 
know that they are exceedingly rare, like angels' visits ; 
but they speak to us of man as he once was, and of 
what he will again become. 

The highest and the noblest heroism the earth has 
ever known, has not been displayed on the battle-field, 
or in any of those extraordinary revolutions brought 
about by the terrible instrumentality of the sword. 
No ! if you v/ould see that which alone is worthy of 
the name of heroism, you must look for it among those 
whose ambition has never been influenced by the sel- 
fish motives which have usually impelled the mass of 
mankind to great exertions, — among those who have 
strove to be good rather than to be great, — to bless 
others rather than to aggrandize themselves. Their 
names have found no place in the world's history; the 
beauty of their daily life has passed all unseen, save by 
the angels ; yet it has blessed the world. 

We have been led to these reflections, by an incident 
which, although it occurred many years ago, is as fresh 
to our mind as the transactions of yesterday. 

We had been travelling all night, and mdeed it was 
not imtil late the next morning that we arrived at the 


very pleasant village of N., where we stopped to take 
breakfast before proceeding on our journey. We had 
observed that there was an unusual excitement among 
the people of the village. On inquiring of the landlord 
the cause, he informed us that Mary Manly, a poor 
blihd girl, was to be married in yonder church. He 
went on, in a very rapid manner, to tell us that she was 
a favorite in the village, — that everybody loved her, 
— and that now the people had all come out to see her 
married, and to rejoice at her good fortune. " Ah ! good 
fortune," replied one; "that depends very much upon 
whom she is to have for a husband." " As fine a 
young fellow," rejoined the landlord, " as you ever need 
to see. Harry French, a midshipman in the navy. 
Everybody was astonished that, after having been gone 
so long, he should return and marry poor blind Mary; 
but they were playmates in their early days, and he 
never forgot her." 

By this time, breakfast was announced. While we 
were disposing of the good things placed before us, the 
driver came in to inform us that before we could pro- 
ceed on our journey the stage must be repaired, and 
that it would probably detain us about an hour. 

We all determined to witness the marriage ceremony. 
On entering the church, we found it crowded with per- 
sons of both sexes, and all ages, anxiously waiting the 
hour when the ceremony should commence. At length, 
the bridegroom and the bride, with their friends, entered 
the church. 

A choir of children, who were stationed on each side 
of the main aisle, introduced the services by singing an 
ode prepared for the occasion, while they held in their 
hands bouquets of fresh and beautiful flowers, with 


which they were to deck the young bride as she passed 


Nothing could exceed the fine effect of their sweet 
young voices, blended in the following stanzas, com- 
pcsed by one of their number : 

With songs and flowers we welcome thee, 
And bless thee on thy bridal day ; 
And may thy life forever be 
Gladdened by love's inspiring ray. 

It is a blessed thing to see 
The union of two hearts complete, 
So joyous, — happy, — and so free, 
As those we at this altar greet. 

Father .1 heaven, to thee we pray, 
Loot aown upon this happy pair, 
A' J. guide them ever on their way, 
Cheer by thy love each earthly care. 

As soon as the little voices ceased, the venerable 
clergyman fervently supplicated the throne of grace to 
bless those whom he was about to unite ; then address- 
ing the happy pair in a few brief and impressive words, 
he admonished them to live henceforth to each other 
and to God. The benediction was then pronounced, 
and the congregation dispersed. The timid bride, lean- 
ing on the arm of her noble husband, went with him to 
her future home. Her pathway Avas literally strewed 
with flowers, whose fragrance she could enjoy, although 
she could not behold their beauty. 

I have often wished I could see, but never more 
than on that occasion. My fellow-travellers x^atched 
the happy pair, until they could no longer be seen, and 
then entering the stage, we resumed our journey 
Nothing was talked of during the day, but the bUnd 



feride. It was amusing to hear them speculate on the 
probable motives of her husband in marrying her. 

A gentleman who had got into the stage at N., related 
the history of the married couple. 

" The bride," he said, " was an orphan girl, who lost 
her sight when only six years old. As she grew up, 
she was beloved by all, for the sweetness of her dispo- 

"Her husband was- the son of a wealthy country 
gentleman ; he was about her own age. In early life, 
they were playmates. No one ever thought that they 
would be man and wife ; but after finishing his educa- 
tion, and entering the navy, where he spent two or 
three years, he gave up his commission, returned to his 
native village, and, very much to the astonishment of 
every one, married his early friend." 

By this time, the stage had ascended a high hill, and 
the gentleman who was relating their history pointed 
out their residence to his fellow-passengers. 

"It is a beautiful place," said one. " I wish I had 
such a home," said another; and all united in wishing 
its inmates a long and a happy life. 




Who went about doing good. — Acts x. 38. 

It is delightful to contemplate the benevolent institu- 
tions of the present day, in which so many wise and 
good men are engaged. It is gratifying to witness the 
deep interest which is everywhere manifested in the 
suffering and afflicted children of earth. It is one of 
the most cheering signs of our times, that there is no 
class of human beings, no matter how degraded, but 
are brought to feel the benign influence of that compre- 
hensive philanthropy which is inspired by the Divine 
spirit of our holy religion ; for when we trace back the 
causes which have set in operation so many benevolent 
instrumentalities at the present day, we are carried back 
to Bethlehem and Calvary. 

In the deep devotion of those true-hearted Christians, 
who, forgetting self, sacrifice their lives for the good of 
others, " to seek and to save those that were lost," we 
behold the brightest manifestations of the love enkin- 
dled by the blessed example of Him who came down 
from heaven, and " went about doing good." 

We propose, in the present discourse, briefly to remark 
upon some of those incidents in the life of the Saviour, 
which so strikingly exemplify the deep and all-control- 
ling love he felt for suffering, guilty man. 

It will be expecting too much to suppose that we can 
offer anything new upon a subject which has been so 
often descanted upon from the sacred desk. There is. 


however, sometimes an advantage in recurring to old 
and familiar thoughts, and in dw4elling upon topics 
which seem to have become trite. 

There is a depth in the philanthropy of Christ, from 
which the sincere and earnest soul can always draw 
something to sustain and cheer it in its earthly pilgrim- 
age. We can never reflect too often upon the daily 
beauty of his life, who lived, and toiled, and died, that 
we might live. We can never strive too long nor too 
earnestly to imitate his blessed example, and thus to 
conform our lives to his just and holy requirements. 
While others seek to display their logical acuteness ai. i 
theological subtlety, in disputing about the essence and 
personality of the Saviour, let us seek to draw from the 
great lessons which he has taught us, our duty to God 
and to one another. The predominant element in the 
character of Christ, — that which shone forth on all occa- 
sions, which lives in all he did, and which was breathed 
in all he uttered, — was his deep and compassionate ten- 
derness for suffering and for sorrow. 

Cold and adamantine must be that heart who can 
behold him pausing at the way-side, at the cry of the 
afflicted, to heal their infirmities, and assuage their 
grief, without feeling grateful to God, that he has sent 
liis Son into the world, to bless us with his labors, and to 
inspire us with his love. 

All the miracles that the Saviour wrought attest how 
deeply he felt for the suflerings of man, and it is, with- 
out doubt, to the influence which they have exerted on 
the hearts of Christians, that so much is now being 
done to ameliorate the condition of the unfortunate. 

It may, in truth, be said that the philanthropic 
element in Christianity is that which distinguishes it 
preeminently from every other religion. Its founder 


could see in the most degraded child of earth, an heir of 
heaven. It was for such that he liyed and labored, 
that he tailed and died. It was to establish no system, 
it was to promulgate no theory, that brought the Son 
of God from heaven. It was the spectacle of human 
wretchedness and misery, that had for ages darkened 
and deformed the beautiful earth, that cried to heaven, 
and moved the compassion of Christ. Is it not lament- 
able that his mission ta earth has been so little under- 
stood by his professed followers 1 How much time and 
energy have been expended in the building up of sects, 
rather than, legitimately and without ostentation, imi- 
tating the example of him "who went about doing 
good ! " If he were at this moment to appear among us, 
what terrible words of condemnation would he utter, as 
he witnessed our contentions for this or that theological 
speculation I Would he not say to us, as he did to the 
Pharisees of old, "Woe unto you, ye blind guides — 
hypocrites?" Would it not be as true now as it was 
eighteen hundred years ago, " He came to his own, 
and they received him not 7 " Do you think, if he were 
to go among the " publicans and sinners," he would be 
permitted to enter our fashionable churches? And if 
he were to denounce the evils of the present day, as 
boldly and as fearlessly as he did those that existed 
when he first appeared upon the earth, would he not be 
persecuted, ay, — and put to death even, by those who 
profess and call themselves Christian ? We have much 
of Judaism, but little of the benevolence of Jesus. 
There are many v/ho " devour widows' houses," who 
" build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the 
sepulchres of the righteous," and then "for a pretence 
make long prayers," and cry " Lord, Lord." But few, 
very feiv, like the meek and lowly Jesus, " go about 


doing good," in consoling the afflicted, visiting the 
prisoner in liis degradation, and everywhere preaching 
mercy to the guilty and forsaken. As yet, we have 
only the letter, — we need more of the spirit of Chris- 
tianity. There are enough who are willing to fight, and 
die even, for religion. How few there are willing to 
live it, — to carry it out in the every day concerns of 
life ! We have faith and hope, hut we need more of 
the divine charity of Christ. Our lives should be gos- 
pels, "epistles" of truth and goodness. 

Let us consider for a moment some of the incidents in 
the life of the Saviour, that manifest his compassionate 
tenderness in behalf of our suffering race. Behold 
him as he approaches Jerusalem, that city which had 
given birth to so many prophets, and which had so 
long shared the peculiar protection of Heaven. As he 
looks upon its lofty structures and contemplates its 
impending fate, he xveei^s; and in the deep agony of 
his soul he exclaims, " Jerusalem, Jerusalem — how 
often would I have gathered your children together as 
a hen gathereth her brood under her wings; but ye 
would not." Again, see him sympathizing with the 
sisters Mary and Martha, as they weep for the death of 
their brother. What a sublime spectacle does he pre- 
sent at the grave of Lazarus ! Raising his meek and 
loving eyes to heaven, he expresses, in a few and simple 
words, his confidence in God, and then he commands 
the dead to come forth. Witness him also as he meets 
the funeral procession of the widow's son. How pro- 
found is his sorrow for that bereaved mother ! Here 
he works another miracle, not merely to display his 
power, but prompted from the deep sympathy of his 
uncorrupted heart. Its purpose was accomplished when 


the fond mother once more clasped to her bosom her 
son, restored to life. 

It is worthy of remark, that the Saviour never sought 
great occasions. The most wonderful things he ever 
did were suggested by the occasion. For example : 
as he was one day passing along, followed by the eager 
multitude, his attention was attracted by a poor blind 
man, who sat by the way-side begging. Touched by 
his affliction, he commanded the man to be brought 
unto him. The ignorant and cold-hearted Jews remon- 
strated, but to little purpose; for the comprehensive 
soul of Jesus embraced the humblest of earth's children. 
He restores him to sight, but charges him to tell no 
man. These were incidents of his daily life. They 
show us that he took no limited, no one-sided view 
of man. While it was his object to purify the heart, 
by revealing to man his intimate relation to God, he 
never refused to mitigate physical suffering. And with 
the injunction to preach the gospel, he has given the 
command to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. 

There is one more illustration of the Saviours bound- 
less love, to which we would refer. It is the closing 
scene of his short, but eventful life. The cruel perse- 
cution which he endured could make no impression 
upon his serene and heavenly temper. And when at 
last he was condemned to die on the cross, — scoffed at 
and spit upon by the deluded multitude whom he had 
sought to bless, — and wben, to render his death more 
ignominious, he was placed between two criminals, he 
breathed that prayer which ought of itself to be enough 
to regenerate the world, '•'■Father, forgive them — 
they kiiow 7iot what they do." 

He died ; and the cross, which till then had been a 
sign of reproach, became the glory of the world. It 


has led armies to battle, and symbolized the faith of 
the humble. But oh ! when shall its deep significance 
be written on every human heart; when shall men 
everywhere imbibe the spirit of Christ, and imitate 
his blessed example, in " going about doing good?" 



It is a very interesting and instructive fact, that, 
among those who in every age have been distinguished 
for their scientific and hterary attainments, appear the 
names of men who, during their whole hves, were com- 
pelled to contend with obstacles, which, to common 
minds, seem utterly impossible to be overcome. But 
of all the disadvantages to v/hich a human being can 
ever be subjected in the pursuit of knowledge, the priva- 
tion of one or more of the senses must be admitted as 
the most appalling. For the senses are the avenues by 
which the mind obtains its knowledge of the material 
world; and it would seem that when one of these is 
rendered useless, the mind could at most be but im- 
perfectly developed. And yet, if history is to be cred- 
ited, there have bee», in almost every age, blind men, 
(we mention blind men, because sight is regarded as the 
most important of the senses,) whose misfortune has 
only served to stimulate them to greater exertions in the 
acquisition of knowledge. All that we really know of 
the greatest poet the world has ever produced, is, that 
he was a blind man ; and the immortal author of the 
Paradise Lost was subjected to the same calamity. 
We might multiply instances of these, to an extent 
which would astonish those who have never given any 
attention to the subject. We could show that, not 
orLy in poetry, but in almost every other department 
of literature, in the sciences, and in the cultivation of 
many of the arts, bhndness really constitutes no impedi- 


We propose, however, in this article, to confine our 
observations to one who would, probably, have been a 
remarkable man under any circumstances ; whose won- 
derful powers no misfortune, however great, could en- 
tirely prevent from making an impression, in whatever 
avocation he might have been called to exercise them. 
No one can read the life of Sanderson without being 
more deeply impressed with the power of mind to sub- 
ject matter to its purposes, and without feeling con- 
vinced that there is, in the mighty energies of a well- 
directed intellect, a force which no mere physical 
misfortune can withstand. It is to be deeply regretted, 
that a full and adequate biography of Sanderson has 
not yet been given to the world. A mere sketch of his 
life was published in the appendix to his work on Flux- 
ions ; and a short, but very interesting, account of him, 
contained in a work published by the Society in Eng- 
land for the Dissemination of Useful Knowledge, is all 
we know of one of the greatest men of the last century. 
Lord Brougham, in a labored effort, has attempted to 
vindicate Voltaire from the obloquy to which his un- 
tiring efforts to overthrow Christianity had consigned 
him; and Carlyle, with, we think, much more com- 
mendable zeal, has endeavored to redeem the name 
of Cromwell from the reproaches heaped upon it by a 
corrupt aristocracy, and a degraded priesthood. And 
may we not hope that some one of the great minds of 
our day will yet do justice to the memory and merits 
of Sanderson 1 All that we can do, in this paper, is to 
give something like a connected statement of the facts 
of his life, collected from the sources mentioned above ; 
and to make a few observations upon the method by 
which he was enabled to substitute other senses for the 
one of which he was deprived. We may, in this way, 


testify, in our humble manner, gratitude for his exam- 
ple, and admiration for his success. 

Nicholas Sanderson was born at the village of Thurs- 
ton, in Yorkshire, England, in 1682.* " He was only 
a year old when he was deprived, by small-pox, not 
only of sight, but even of his eyes themselves, which 
were destroyed by abscess." It was fortunate for San- 
derson that he lost his sight at this early age ; since 
those persons who become blind in infancy, or who 
were born blind, always possess advantages over those 
who have had the use of their eyes until they have ar- 
rived at maturity. Sanderson, when very young, dis- 
played a fondness for knowledge, which, instead of 
being suppressed, as in most blind persons of that day, 
was encouraged by his parents, who sent him to a free 
school, at Penniston, in the neighborhood of his native 
place. It was probably here, where, for the first time, 
he had to contend with those who possessed the advan- 
tages of vision, that the energy and perseverance to 
which he owed his success in after life first manifested 
themselves. It is not very difficult to conceive of the 
method which must have been pursued by his master, 
in imparting to the mind of his blind pupil the elements 
of knowledge. He must have had the lesson read to 
him frequently, until his memory was enabled to retain 
it. It is possible that he was assisted in the study of 
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and the higher mathe- 
matics, by contrivances similar to those made use of by 
Abbe Hauy, and which are now employed in the insti- 
tutions for the education of the blind, in Europe, and in 

* It may be interesting to the reader to know, that in jnst one hun- 
dred years from the birt^i of Sandei-son, Abbe Hauy, prompted by 
Sanderson's example, made the first efforts in Europe to educate the 


this country. For the most part, however, his instruc- 
tion must have been oral. His knowledge of the lan- 
guages, in which he attained great proficiency, could 
only have been acquired by the assistance of an amanu 
ensis. We are informed that, at the age of sixteen, 
Sanderson could read, or understand when read to him, 
works written in the Greek and Latin languages, with 
as much ease as those written in his native tongue. 
There are several Latin compositions of great merit, 
written by him, still extant. But it was probably in 
mathematics that he most excelled. His successor in 
the University of Cambridge asserts that- Sanderson 
surveyed the whole coast of Scotland. Of course, it is 
meant that he performed the mathematical process, em- 
ploying another person's eyes in making the necessary 
observations. The faculties upon which he most" de- 
pended, in acquiring his education, are those which, in 
the minds of most blind persons, predominate — mem- 
ory, and concentration. These faculties are by no 
means the most important of those with which God has 
endowed us ; but the process best calculated to develop 
them is that which is best suited to invigorate all the 
other mental powers. The necessity under which a 
blind person labors, in acquiring a knowledge of men 
and things, only renders his memory very retentive; 
and if he pursues its cultivation through life, it compen- 
sates him, in a very great degree, for the want of that 
sovereign organ upon which others rely, by which they 
are enabled to recur to books, and take cognizance of 
facts in the world around them. Abercrombie mentions 
a bfind man, who could repeat, verbatim, any part of 
the Bible to which his attention Avas directed ; and he 
also relates many other wonderful facts, showing Ihe 
extent and capability of this faculty. If we bear in 


mind the fact, that it is by sight alone that we obtain 
our knowledge of all those objects by which we are not 
immediately surrounded, — that, although the principal 
use of the eye is to make us acquainted with colors, yet 
we actually make use of it to obtain a knowledge of 
motion, form, space, &c., — we shall be able to appre- 
ciate more fully the difficulties which must have beset 
the path of Sanderson. But, unattracted by surround- 
ing objects, he could the better concentrate his naturally 
energetic mind upon whatever subject he desired to in- 
vestigate ; and this, together with his powerful memory, 
of which we have already spoken, enabled him not 
merely to compete with his schoolmates, but actually to 
surpass them. The father of Sanderson held a place in 
the excise of his native county ; his income was, there- 
fore, not sufficient to enable him to give his son a lib- 
eral education, or to provide him with the means of 
fully gratifying his love of knowledge. When he had 
reached his twenty-fourth or twenty-fifth year, he was 
still without a profession. His own wish was to go to 
the university ; but the limited circumstances of his 
father rendered it impossible. It was therefore decided 
that he should go to Cambridge, not as a student, but as 
a teacher of mathematics and natural philosophy. Ac- 
cordingly, in the year 1707, under the protection of a 
friend, one of the fellows of Christ's College, he com- 
menced his career as a lecturer ; which introduced him 
to the men of letters and science, among whom we 
would mention Sir Isaac Newton, who gave him many 
substantial proofs of his friendship. We also have to 
record here, to the credit of the eccentric but unfortu- 
nate Whiston, who then held the Lucasian professorship 
of mathematics in the University, that, on Sanderson 
opening classes to teach the same branches of science 


upon which he had himself been in the daily habit of 
reading lectures, he extended to him every assistance 
in his power. Sanderson commenced his prelections 
upon Newton's Optics. 

" The subject itself which Sanderson thus chose, in- 
dependently of the manner in which he treated it, was 
well calculated to attract notice, — few things seem- 
ing, at first sight, more extraordinary than that a man, 
who had been blind almost from his birth, should be 
able to explain the phenomena, and expound the doc- 
trine, of light." Mr. Colson, successor of Sanderson, in 
his notice of him, describes at great length the method 
he pursued in explaining the primary laws of light, and 
the phenomena of colors, as well as the system of tan- 
gible signs by which he performed his mathematical 
calculations. And the only difference between his 
method and that invented by Abbe Hauy is, that it was 
much more imperfect. Sanderson's success as a lec- 
turer continued still to increase, so that when Whiston 
was expelled from his chair, in 1711, he was appointed, 
through the influence of Sir Isaac Newton, to fill the 
vacancy. As a necessary preliminary, the degree of 
Master of Arts was conferred upon him. Sanderson 
gave his whole attention to his classes ; and it is to his 
constant labors in his profession that we are to attribute 
the fact, that, with the exception of his work on Flux- 
ions, and a small work on Algebra, he prepared very 
little for the press. In 1728, on the occasion of a visit 
of George II., he was created Doctor of Laws ; at which 
time he pronounced a Latin oration remarkable for its 
eloquence. He was married in 1728, and died in 1737, 
in the fifty-seventh year of his age. 

During his life, Sanderson enjoyed the acquaintance 
and friendship of the most distinguished scholars of his 


day. To their influence, as well as to his uncommon 
talents, was he indebted not a little for that proud eleva- 
tion to which he attained. It is said that, on his going 
to Cambridge, favors were proffered him purely on ac- 
count of his misfortune. These he rejected, exclaiming 
that he was a scholar, and should receive no favors 
simply because he was a blind man. No man ever 
labored with more assiduity than he, nor with more 
success, to overcome the efiects of a physical calamity. 
Indeed, the extent to which he cultivated the senses of 
hearing and touch seems almost marvellous. He could 
tell, for instance, on going into his room, by the sound 
of his cane upon the floor, if any article of furniture had 
been removed. He could distinguish the finest intona- 
tions of the human voice, and was able to determine, 
with astonishing accuracy, the height and age of a per- 
son by the voice alone.* Of course, we do not intend 
to assert that he could tell to an inch the exact height, 
nor to a day the exact age, of every one. What we 
mean to say of Sanderson is, (what we would say of all 
intelligent blind persons,) that he could judge of these 
matters by the voice as well as most persons can by the 

Sanderson was no mean performer on the flute ; and 
there can be no doubt that, if his mind had not received 
a difierent direction, he might have become a distin- 
guished musician. As to the sense of touch, it may 
with truth be said, that it was never so fully developed 

* Blindness is often but one of the effects of a cause which injures 
one or more of the other senses. Ophthalmy, a species of inflamma- 
tion, in many climates, not only produces blindness, but greatly affects 
the hearing. And besides, so great a deprivation as the loss of sight 
must always exercise an injurious influence, not only upon the other 
senses, but upon all the physxal functions. 


in any other person. He could distinguish inequalities 
upon surfaces where it was impossible to discern them 
by the eye. He could detect, in a cabinet of Roman 
medals, the counterfeit from the true, though the differ- 
ence was so slight as to deceive the eye of the most ex- 
perienced connoisseurs. It was at first thought that he 
might even detect colors by the touch. But he found, 
after repeated efforts, that it was impossible. I have 
often been amused to hear persons, who could not be 
brought to believe that a blind man could feed himself 
without being helped by another, assert positively, that 
there were blind persons of their acquaintance who 
could tell the color of any article of their wearing ap- 
parel, by feeling it. This is preposterous.* The slight- 
est reflection, it seems to me, must convince any one of 
its utter impossibility. Light is not tangible ; of course 
a blue ray, or a red ray, is not distinguishable by this 

There are several pleasant anecdotes told of Sander- 
son. We have room for one or two only, which illus- 
trate his readiness at repartee. On one occasion, when 
lecturing to his class, and while he was attempting a 
solution of a very intricate problem, one of the persons 
present, filled with admiration at the astonishing math- 

* Dr. Howe, in the report of his journey in Europe, made to the 
Trustees of the Perkins' Institution for the Blind, says, while in Eng- 
land, "I visited a blind girl, who, I was told, could tell colors by the 
touch. I found, as I expected, that this was not true. She could, 
however, tell the color of different pieces of cloth given her, by first 
laying them in the sun till they had acquired the same apparent tem- 
perature ; then, by raising them to her lips, she was able to perceive 
that some of the pieces conducted caloric with a greater degree of 
facility than others. In this way she could distinguish the blue from 
the red, and the green from the orange." [We quote this from 


ematical acuteness which he displayed, exclaimed, 
"Sanderson has but one imperfection ; it is in his eyes.' 
"And yours," replied the professor, "is in your tongue." 
On another occasion, Sanderson was invited to spend an 
evening at the house of a friend, in company with sev- 
eral distinguished persons of both sexes. Upon one of 
the ladies leaving the room, he remarked that her teeth 
must be very white. Being asked by some of the com- 
pany how he knew this, he replied, " I do not think she 
is a fool, and she has been laughing a whole hour." 

We have already spoken of the astonishing extent to 
which Sanderson cultivated his other senses. His co- 
temporaries mentioned many things respecting him, 
which they seem to have regarded as almost miracu- 
lous, but which are exhibited by almost every blind 
person, and in our day would seem too trite to be 
named. For instance, the fact that he could, when in 
the open air, ascertain when a cloud passed over the 
disk of the sun, is mentioned as something peculiarly 
wonderful ; so also is the fact, that he could tell when 
he was approaching an object, if the air was particularly 
clear, by its pulsations upon his face. This, however, 
is nothing but what ever}^ blind person is capable of 
doing. We have known those who could do more than 
this. There are blind persons who, when approaching 
an object, can form some idea of its character ; can tell, 
for instance, whether it is a stone post, a tree, a horse, 
or a man ; and there are those who even claim that they 
can tell, on entering a room, whether there be other 
persons in the room, — of course, it is meant without 
hearing them speak. The principle upon which they 
do this is, that a living body produces a greater impres- 
sion, as you approach it, than an inert object. This 
may, perhaps, cause those to smile who have never 


given the subject a thought. But as we do not mean 
to be considered as asserting that it is a gift pecuHar to 
the blind, but that it is only in consequence of the supe- 
rior culture of the sense of touch, which is occasioned by 
blindness, we recommend all sceptical persons to try it. 
It is a very easy thing ; bandage your eyes, then let 
some person lead you towards different objects, and you 
will find, after repeating the experiment several times, 
that each of them produces upon you a different sensa- 
tion, — faint and almost indistinct at first, but, as you 
repeat the experiment, becoming more and more vivid. 
Now, it is these sensations, or rather impressions, which 
the blind are accustomed to observe and to turn to some 
account; for the principle to which we have referred 
enables them, when walking in the streets, (provided 
they are walking sufficiently slow,) to ascertain if there 
be any obstruction in their path. There are many 
other things which would be interesting to the curious, 
as illustrating the almost illimitable extent to which the 
sense of touch is capable of being carried, but which we 
must reserve for another occasion. 

Much has been written upon the comparative value 
of the different senses. I have often been asked by 
those who have never felt the inconvenience caused by 
the want of any one of the senses, — which was really 
the most unfortunate, the blind, or the deaf and dumb 7 
Of course a solution of this question can never be ob- 
tained. It is a beautiful arrangement of Providence, 
and one which we cannot too much admire, that each 
of these classes considers its own condition preferable. 
We once listened to a dialogue upon this subject ; a por- 
tion of which we will give, as the best means of illus- 
trating the views of those who are the most competent 
judges. The deaf mute communicated to the blind man, 


Try writing what he had to say, upon a slate ; which 
being read by a third party, the blind replied in the 
same manner. 

D. "It must be a sad life to you, never to see the 
earth, the sea, and the sky." 

B. " But I can converse with those around me, and 
I am delighted with the voices of those I love." 

D. '-'I, too, can converse, as I now do with you. I 
can see the 'human face divine,' and these beautiful 
flowers," — pointing to a vase by his side. 

B. {Growing more excited,^ " But you cannot study, 
to the same extent that I can, the abstract sciences, — 
intellectual and moral philosophy ; you cannot while 
away your hours with music, at the piano-forte." 

D. "I can read the book of nature; I can look upon 
yon smiling landscape." 

B. "I can listen to the voice of the birds, and the 
music of flowing waters, and enjoy with deep delight 
the perfume of ten thousand flowers." 

D. {Smiling,) "I, too, can enjoy their fragrance, and 
admire their hue ; and yesterday I beheld the master- 
piece of Michael Angelo, instinct with life and beauty." 

B. " Last night I listened to the music of Beethoven, 
and the poetry of Goethe." 

D. "lean read poetry in the smiling faces around 

B. "Smiles do not always wreathe the face. You 
can see the cheek blanched, the sunken eye, and all the 
marks which time and decay make upon the form, to 
sadden the heart. I hear only the voices of my friends, 
whose music can never die ; and, as it has been truly 

' I only know that they grow old, 
By counting happy years gone by.' " 


The reader may, perhaps, gather from the foregoing 
observations, some opinion as to which of the misfor- 
tunes is really the greatest, as well as our own views 
upon the subject. But let us return once more to San- 
derson. The limits we have prescribed to this article 
will only allow us briefly to notice one other fact of this 
great man's life, which, but for the false conclusions de- 
duced from it, we should not have mentioned. We 
refer to the fact that Sanderson was a sceptic in reli- 
gion. His infidelity is, without doubt, attributable to 
the fact that his whole life was devoted to the study of 
the physical sciences, and that he lived in an age when 
the philosophy of Locke and Bolingbroke was in the 
ascendant. Yet there are those who suppose that the 
blind are more liable to infidelity, because that they 
cannot appreciate the argument in favor of the Deity, 
his attributes, &c., drawn from the material universe. 
We have not time to answer this as we ought; we will, 
however, observe that there are arguments which dem- 
onstrate the existence of God, his moral government, 
&c., more fully than that deduced from the material 
world, and which the blind can appreciate as well as 
other men. Besides, the religious nature is, in most 
blind men, developed at a much earlier period than in 
seeing persons. It is generally thought that the em- 
blems of death have a tendency to develop our sympa- 
thies; that he who beholds the hearse, the pall, the 
shroud, feels more keenly than he otherwise would, that 
he has lost a friend. Yet how transient, how evanes- 
cent, is the impression produced by these emblems! 
The sense of loneliness and wretchedness, which the 
heart experiences when we are called upon to contem- 
plate the darkest mystery of life, makes a more endur- 
ing impression than those external symbols, which are 


oftener used to gratify an ill-disguised pride. If San- 
derson had devoted as much time to the study of Plato 
and Seneca as he did to that of Pythagoras and Ar- 
chimedes; if, in short, he had studied the spiritual in- 
stead of the material philosophy, he might have written 
^ a poem instead of his work on Fluxions ; and a theo- 
logical essay might have taken the place of his Latin 
Commentary upon Sir Isaac Newton's Principia. But 
he flourished at a period when the study of the physical 
sciences was thought the highest employment for the 
intellect of man. Believing all knowledge to be the 
result of sensation and reflection, he devoted his whole 
life to the task of lessening the disparity which existed 
between him and his fellows. Nobly did he succeed I 
And while we regret that want of faith in the supernat- 
ural of which some have complained, we still must 
confess that he was true to the ideas of his day, and the 
philosophy of the school to which circumstances had 
attached him. And if it be true that every age has its 
representative men, well did Sanderson represent the 
eighteenth century. 



In this grand phantasmagoria wherein destiny has 
located us, why and for what, we cannot divine, there 
is a perpetual conflict between spirit and matter; th 
permanent and the transient, the abstract and the con- 
crete, the ideal and the actual; between the world 
within and the world without there seems no affinity. 
The facts of intuition seldom harmonize with the obser- 
vations of the senses. Hence, the incongruities and 
inexplicable verities, in the midst of which we wander 
whither we know not. To the thoughtful mind, the 
first inquiry, the question of all questions, is, What 
means it? This laughing, crying, thinking, acting, 
whence is it? and for what? 

To this end do men moralize, poetize, write homilies 
and histories, and do all manner of things, that they 
may know their being's end and aim, and seemingly all 
to no purpose ; why is it that the universal solvent, the 
true elixir of life, has never yet been discovered? Why 
do men grope about in the dark nov/, as centuries ago, 
searching diligently, but never finding the mighty 
secret ? 

To the eye of a pure spirit upon some far off" star, 
what a strange spectacle must the denizens of this 
mundane sphere present, in their ceaseless struggles for 
the hidden and unknown ! Yet all worthy the admira- 
tion of angels is man, toiling and striving for the light 
that shall reveal the purpose of his existence. 

To the contemplative mind, there is nothing without 
a meaning; no life, however humble, but has its sig- 



Oh, thou conceited pedant ! boast no more of thy 
wisdom and philosophy ! But go thou, and reverently 
learn of the meanest thing of earth, for may be it shall 
teach thee what thou art ! 

In the midst of a sublime universe, surrounded on all 
sides with objects teeming with life, partaking of earth, 
yet aspiring to heaven, such is man ! 

The record of his thoughts, his darings, his aspira- 
tions, — what a biography ! His deeds are written in 
terrible distinctness, as if by fate, throughout the earth. 
From zone to zone, from pole to pole, in tears and in 
sorrow, he has recorded the experience of the ages. 
Everywhere around him are the monuments of power 
and of greatness, which his soul has conceived, and his 
hand has formed. 

Endowed with freedom, and yet mysteriously con- 
trolled by destiny, this strange combination of the 
animal and the angel, the human and divine, this mon- 
arch of the world, is yet an enigma to himself. 

We hear much of sciences and philosophies, in these 
days, treating of almost every conceivable thing, from 
the mechanism of an insect, to the corruscation of the 
stars ; but the noblest of them all is that which essays 
to explain the nature of the philosopher himself There- 
fore do we, by the light of our thoughts, commune for 
a while with the oracle within, that ever, in silent 
solemnity, writes its deep mysteries on the dial of the 

Now, in pensive strains it waileth, 
Now, in radiant smiles it sports, 
Now, some noble deed it haileth, 
By the earnest heart put forth. 

Then, it waketh from long slumbers 
Kecollections bright and dear, 
Then, in low and plaintive numbers, 
Stirs the fount of many a tear. 


The shrine of the heart, whose light is goodness, 
truth and beauty, where we consecrate the bright fan- 
cies of our primeval days, that in after years give birth 
to heroic resolutions, — that shrine is the dwelling- 
place of mighty energies, that may slumber in forgetful- 
ness, or wake in glory. Solemn and momentous are 
the lessons imparted through the eloquent voice of the 
angel within. Darkness and woe attend him who 
heeds not her monitions ; but blessed is he who under- 
stands the interpreter of his bosom. 

To each consciousness alone, speaks the divinity of 
the soul, bringing us into silent sympathy with the 
past immensity, and revealing to our gaze the future 

Sometimes, though but for a moment, the mystic veil 
is raised, and we see, feel and hear the absolute and 
the inconceivable, whose all-pervading presence is with 
us ever, yet we know it not. There is something 
which the inhabitants of our world do need, greater far 
than educations, steam-engines, magnetic telegraphs, 
and the like. Mighty influences these, no doubt ! But 
wouldst thou know, my brother, the secret of the 
world's Genesis, and the result thereof, — why thou art 
here, and for what, — wouldst thou leave thy insanities, 
that make thee seem so poor, so beclouded and so dark ? 
— then must thy soul be baptized in a pure, celestial 
faith, and the mouldering fire within be kindled to a 
flame. Then only canst thou adore the absolute, the 

The human soul has a mighty destiny, for weal or 
woe. Its vast domain is boundless ; bright evanescence 
>f the oversoul ! its highest aim to give significance to 
ill created things, and comprehend itself! Talk not, 
oh man ! of Alpine or Andes grandeur ; no ! rather look 
within thyself, — for there is all reality. 


Turn we now to view the image of the soul, reflected 
m each action that doth mark our daily life. What 
dire confusion, what deep distress, what mournful wait- 
ings, come there from the earth because of man ! Oh ! 
who can read, without a tear, a sigh, a groan of agony, 
the blood-stained pages of the world's sad history? 
Six thousand years have passed away, big with wretch- 
edness and poor renown. An Alexander, Caesar and 
Napoleon, each in their turn, "have played fantastic 
tricks before high heaven;" have shared the glory of a 
day, and then have died. 

Divine and noble men have lived in every age, whose 
voices, eloquent and beautiful, can never die. The 
glory of Greece has departed, and Rome has fallen, yet 
preserved for all time are the classic pages of Plato, 
Cicero and Seneca. 

There have been those, in every nation, fired with 
inspiration deep and pure, who have struggled long and 
valiantly to awaken in each soul, with art divine, their 
own lofty ideas of truth, goodness and beauty. 

A Michael Angelo, a Titian, a Mozart, and a Shaks- 
peare, these are voices whose eloquence sublime, the 
world shall ever rank among its choicest blessings ; but 
worthiest of our admiration is he who, in the midst of 
all vicissitudes, can live a pure and blameless life. 
There have been many such. These are the world's 
true heroes, whose battle-field the thoroughfare of life, 
whose trophies the victories gained over selfislmess and 

The noblest deeds of men have never been recorded. 
History is full of their vices and their crimes, but the 
acts that angels love to view never meet the general 

Here and there upon the earth, the apostles of truth, 


file philanthropists of the race, in mournful isolation, 
have toiled unceasingly for the good of all ; yet, in this 
nineteenth century, what can be said of man in the 
aggregate 7 Are not the millions as yet without a 
practical consciousness that they are, and shall ever be, 
linked to eternity ? Do the multitude feel that the out- 
ward, however grand and imposing, is transient and 
evanescent; that the only permanent is the undying 
soul ; that the only life is the life within 7 The melan- 
choly answer to these queries is inscribed upon the 
statute books, the dungeons and the gibbets, that 
darken and deform the earth, and tell us that man is 
yet a savage. 

Could we occupy an elevated position that overlooks 
some densely populated city, and were we for a moment 
endowed with a piercing vision, that could penetrate 
the mask with which men veil themselves, what mon- 
strous depravity would meet our gaze ! How mournful 
would be the contrasts that would everywhere present 
themselves ! 

Impelled by passion's terrific force, from morn till 
night, from year to year, hapless mortals plod on their 
weary way, oppressed and oppressing, degraded and 
degrading, planning always for themselves, never for 
each other. 

The wealthy few, in the enjoyment of their riches and 
luxuries, while the many repine in their poverty and 
degradation; vice and ignorance often honored and 
applauded, while merit and virtue are despised and 
forgotten. The glorious sunlight of heaven, that shines 
so kindly upon all, is the only equality they enjoy. 

He who whispers the intimations of nature, that all 
men are brethren, is the only eccentric; and he who 
makes duty his highest law, the only martyr. Is not 


this human society ? Is not such a city a type of the 
world 1 Yet for man there is a blessed future, a glorious 
morrow is coming, when in his daily life he shall make 
manifest the purpose of his being. 

Christianity has a mission not yet fulfilled. The 
kingdom of heaven will one day be established upon 
the earth ; the discordant voices of men shall at length 
harmonize with the music of the angels. For this sab- 
bath, this jubilee of the race, who will not pray ? Yet 
very sad at present is the spectacle which our world 
everywhere presents. The misery endured upon the 
earth for a single day is enough to chill the warmest 
heart ; and the story which is everywhere told of man's 
injustice to his brother may indeed cause the philan- 
thropist to despair. But courage ! let this be the 
watchword of the favored few whose clarion voices 
bewail the mournful depravity of the race. The mid- 
night darkness in which we are shrouded shall be dissi- 
pated by the resplendent light of the coming day. 
There be those that even now discern the dawn. 
Wouldst thou, my friend, perform thy part to hasten 
on this glorious consummation, when heaven will no 
longer be a dream, but a glorious reality 7 then first of 
all regenerate thyself! that the casement wherein thou 
dwellest may become a fit temple for the living God. 

When we are thrown back upon ourselves, and feel 
the awful grandeur of our individuality, an over- 
whelming sense of the all-pervading sympathy with all 
that is external is merged in the contemplation of the 
soul's divinity. Are we not all greater than we think? 

The cure for our poor servility, is it not in a deeper 
reverence for the all-divine 7 Is it not true that the 
united influence of our senses, and a wretched, paltry 
education, are not of themselves able to deprive us of a 


consciousness of what we were and what we shall 
become? Have we not all, in our silent moments, the 
feeling of relationship, — intimate, divine, — to those 
bl(;ssed beings that we recognize only in our dreams 7 
"Whence comes the sense of kindred with all created 
things? Why do we love to contemplate nature in all 
her modes ? Because our spirit is bound to her by a 
thousand mystic links. 

I go forth in autumn time, that I may hear the 
flowers chant their requiem and sigh farewell to sum- 
mer. I see not their varied tints, that so endear them 
to the eye, but inhale with gratitude their sweet fra- 
grance, borne all lovingly within the soft and balmy 
zephyr ; yet more blessed to hear the music of their last 
low sigh, breathed only to the ear of him whose 
responsive heart confesses its deep relationship. To 
him they say, we have fulfilled our destiny, — so must 
thou fulfil thine. 

How eloquent is nature ! Not to me is given the 
power of seeing aught in earth or sky ; yet am I drawn 
towards her by an influence irresistible and undefina- 
ble. From the rustling leaf, the murmuring stream, — 
from mountain, valley, hill and dell, — there comes a 
voice of gladness, inviting all to calm repose. O, if we 
would but heed it, then would there be less of sin, and 
more of truth and beauty ! 

The brightest thing of earth is that which awakens 
the soul's highest capacity and loftiest aspiration. 
What is there in this discordant world we admire most 
of all to contemplate ? Is it not love ? the purest, best 
of all our impulses, " that which seeketh not her own," 
but another's joy. Pure, compassionate, all- controlling 
love ! now weeping, now smiling, and ever imparting 
to those who feel thine influence a high and holy delights 


Light of the inmost soul ! source of all true vitality 
and pleasure ! highest, most universal of all the senti- 
ments ! there beats not a heart that has not felt thy 
throbbings ! Thou art among men the only true 
leveller ! " Thou only canst lay the shepherd's crook 
beside the sceptre." 

Music, deep, divinest music, is love's only fitting 
language. The light of the heart gushes forth in the 
voice, wakening in all things sincere responses to each 
thrilling pulsation. It is thus with thee, dearest Isadora ! 
The tones of thy sweet voice are all so full of melting 
tenderness, that every heart accords to thee its willing 
homage. Thou art in unison with all created things. 
The very birds might pause in air, and rest upon their 
wing to hear thee sing; — as the soft tones of the lute, 
borne upon the wind, fall upon the ear at eventide, 
such is thy voice, oh Isadora, thou sweet enchantress ! 
The spell that thou dost throw on all around thee, by 
each dulcet tone that thrills but to delight, shall live 
when thou no more shalt glad the earth with thy 
seraphic minstrelsy. With thee is linked many a 
pleasant reminiscence of other days, v\rhich I would fain 
recall. Dost thou remember, my dearest Isadora, when 
we did sport in childish glee along the banks of our 
dear Merrimac? when, in the innocence of childish 
hearts, we listened to the music of falling waters, and 
talked of the angels that ever smiled upon us 7 Hast 
thou forgotten how thou didst love to cull the flowers, 
and I to listen to thy silvery laugh, as thou didst gayly 
trip across the green, or like some fairy queen, did sit 
within the bower that thou alone could grace ? Dear 
is the memory of those days ! They told me thou wert 
beautiful; thy cheek was with 'the hue of roses tinted. 
Well did I know thy lip was wreathed with smiles: 


they said thine eyes did sparkle -vvith the heart's deep 
joy; and many spoke of placid brow and graceful 
form ; but these, alas ! to me were all in darkness 
veiled ; yet loved I not thee less, for I could hear the 
merry laughing tones of thy sweet voice, light of that 
passion that ever brightly fired thy coy and virgin 
breast. As time unnoticed winged its rapid flight, we 
shared each other's joys, nor sorrow knew. 

From the uncorrupted fount of thy pure heart gushed 
ever the radiant light that made existence all so blessed. 
Full many a change has marked my darkened lot with 
direful sorrow; but thou art as thou ever wast, all 
innocent and pure; thy all-enchanting presence shall 
ever make existence blessed, for " a thing of beauty is a 
joy forever." 

There is probably no one but is conscious at times of 
a desire to free himself from the restraints which cus- 
tom imposes, and to give himself up unreservedly to 
the guidance of his spontaneous impulses. The highest 
boon of life is the enjoyment of free thought and an 
unfettered intellect. Many, for want of this, are but the 
repositories of the thoughts and opinions of others. 
Hence, whosoever speaks for himself, caring not for 
precedent, if he utters aught that is origmai, or is not in 
conformity to prescribed rules, is regarded as a fool or 
a madman. We would equally deprecate the other 
extreme, to which so many are liable in our own day. 
There are those who seem to think that there is no 
difference between great ideas and unintelligible jargon. 

It may be that we have in the preceding remarks 
rendered ourselves somewhat obnoxious to this charge. 
The thoughts we have expressed were suggested on 
reading that unique work, the "Sartor Resartus," to 
which we are indebted for more valuable suggestions 


upon the highest of all subjects of thought, — human 
life, — than to any other book we have ever read. 

Carlyle possesses, in an eminent degree, the power of 
elucidating and explaining those spiritual phenomena 
of which all are conscious, but which have hitherto 
baffled the severest scrutiny of philosophers. We would 
not subscribe to all the opinions put forth by this great 
man ; yet we must say, for depth of thought, vigor and 
beauty of style, he is rarely equalled, and seldom, if 
ever, surpassed. 



Ah, yes ! to me the world is dark ! 

No light, no sunshine, greets my sight ; 
The fair green earth, the bright blue sky, 

To me are ever veiled in night. 

I ne'er have seen the glorious sun, 

Whose light alone hath power to cheer ; 

Nor gazed at eve upon the moon, 
Whose milder beams are yet more dear. 

I ne'er have seen the beauteous flowers, 
That bloom for brighter eyes than mine, 

Nor gazed upon the stars of heaven ; 
They too for me will never shine. 

And I have vainly yearned to see 

The form and face of one I love, 
Whose low, sweet voice falls on mine ea?, 

Like angel music from above. 

There 's nothing bright, there 's nothing fair. 
That unto me hath e'er been given ; 

I dwell alone in this dark world. 

Unblessed by aught save hope of heaven. 

The following lines were written by Miss S. C. Edgarton, in reply to the 
preceding, with which we are happy to adorn our pages. 


Call it not dark ! thy mental sense 

Sees light and beauty all around ; 
They come to thee we know not whence, 

At every touch and every sound. 


Thou hast within thy thoughtful mind 
Bright glimpses of all glorious things ; 

Conceptions pictured and defined, 
That come and go on spirit wings. 

The stars — those jewels of the sky, 
That make the awful night sublime — 

Come sweeping o'er thy mental eye. 
Like visions from some brighter clime. 

And colors, those mysterious charms, 

That clothe the leaves and veil the flowere. 

Who knows but thy rapt spirit swarms 
With dreams of these as bright as ours. 

Call it not dark, — this fair, rich world, 
Though shrouded from thy mortal gaze, 

The flag of beauty is unfurled 

Within thy soul's resplendent rays. 

The light of truth is in thy heart, 
And love glows ever brightly there ; 

While these are thine, where'er thou art, 
This world must still be bright and fair 



It may seem to those who have read our article 
entitled "Bhndness and the Blind," that we had 
already spoken sufficiently upon the disadvantages 
attendant on blindness ; but the subject is one of such 
deep interest, as to require at our hands a more thor- 
ough and extended notice than it has yet received ; for 
we maintain that those who are subjected to blindness 
are best able to judge of its effects : and this remark is 
equally applicable to the deprivation of any of the 

In the following remarks it will not be our object to 
imitate those who have written upon blindness without 
any knowledge of its practical results, and who seem to 
have been more anxious to maintain a favorite hypoth- 
esis, than to arrive at the truth. The philosophers and 
metaphysicians who have made the subject now under 
consideration one of mere speculation, have done the 
blind, as a class, great injustice, by ascribing to their 
misfortune results that have only followed in some par- 
ticular cases. For example : an eminent writer in an 
English Encyclopaedia arrives at the conclusion that 
the blind are more inclined to be sceptical, especially 
upon religious subjects, because of their inability to 
appreciate that common and rather unsatisfactory argu- 
ment in favor of Deity drawn from the external world. 
He refers to Sanderson as an illustration ; but the infi- 
delity of that great man is to be ascribed to the fact that 
his whole life was devoted to the investigation of the 
physical sciences. His want of sight in all probability 


had nothing to do with his want of faith. We may 
here remark that there are many arguments which 
prove the existence of God, his moral government, and 
so forth, which are far more convincing than the one 
to which we have referred, and which the bhnd can 
appreciate as well as other men. 

A French writer, speaking of blindness and its eflFects 
upon the moral development, says that the blind are 
usually found destitute of the sentiment of gratitude, or 
possess it in a very limited degree. He says, also, that 
they are for the most part insensible to the sense of 
shame. He cites us one instance only, in proof of this. 
We also often hear it said that the sympathies of the 
blind are not as strong as in other men, that they are 
more selfish, and so forth. Now all these charges we 
deny in toto. We think that we can prove to the satis- 
faction of every unbiased mind, that, so far as blind- 
ness exerts an influence upon the moral constitution, it 
is beneficent. That the blind have their thoughts more 
generally concentrated on themselves, we do not mean 
to deny. That the element of selfishness, that so 
degrades our common nature, is as active in them as in 
most other men, is equally true ; but it by no means 
follows as a necessary consequence, what some would 
have us believe, that the blind are incapable of those 
elevating and exalting sentiments which, more than any 
other attributes of our nature, seem to ally us to our 
Creator. The fact is, that the blind usually exhibit an 
uncommon degree of tenderness and sympathy for the 
sufferings of others, demonstrating the truth of that 
often repeated adage, that "they only can feel for 
another's sufferings who have themselves sufiered," 
This is often exhibited when any number of them are 
brought together, as in institutions for education j if one 


of them is sick, the others "wiil administer to his wants, 
and strive by all the means in their power to alleviate 
his pain and to restore him to health. If a death occur, 
there is a deeper grief, a more profound sorrow felt, 
than is usual among the same number of seeing persons. 

The blind need not the shroud and the coffin, the 
pall and the hearse, to remind them that they have 
lost a friend. The voice that once gladdened their 
hearts is mute ; they hear no more the familiar step, 
nor feel the grasp ef the friendly hand; and if they 
shed not a tear, it is because tears but poorly express 
the silent grief of the afflicted heart. 

As to the want of gratitude which it is said the blind 
exhibit, we wish those who make this charge could have 
had the opportunity of witnessing the almost extrava- 
gant thankfulness which the blind manifested, when they 
for the first time had placed in their hands copies of 
the New Testament, printed in raised characters, which 
they could read with their fingers. We wish they could 
have heard, as we did, the spontaneous and heartfelt 
expressions of gratitude for this greatest of boons, which 
had been too long withheld ; and I am sure they would 
not for a moment doubt but that the blind are, to say 
the least, as deeply sensible of the favors they receive, 
as any other class of mankind. 

It may sometimes happen that a slight benefit is con- 
ferred upon a blind person, which does not excite that 
deep sense of obligation which was anticipated by the 
donor. It may be that, in individual cases, the blind 
have sometimes exhibited the want of a proper degree 
of sensibility which the beneficence of others ought 
always to awaken ; but it does not therefore follow that 
the blind as a class are destitute of the noble sentiment 
of gratitude, any more than the fact that a blind man 


is sometimes known to be guilty of a crime, proves that, 
as a class, they are predisposed to vice. Tlie charge 
which we are considering, argnes great ignorance in 
those by whom it is made. They select an isolated 
case, and, without taking into consideration any modi- 
fying circumstances, form their conclusions of the char- 
acter of the whole class to which he belongs; thus 
because Sanderson was an infidel, it is inferred that 
the blind are all inclined to scepticism; by the same 
method of reasoning it might be proved that they are 
all mathematicians. We hazard nothing in saying that 
in a majority of the blind the sentiments of benevolence, 
veneration, hope, conscientiousness, &c., are much 
more strongly developed than in the average of man- 
kind, and that what are usually called the social feel- 
ings are in them much more active, we think will not 
be denied. 

The religious sentiment, as it is denominated, is in 
most men the last in the order of development. In 
olind persons, "the rule is not unfrequently reversed. 
It is true, to the blind man the material Avorld furnishes 
but little which is calculated to impress him with the 
power and the goodness of the great Architect. He 
sees not the trees, the shrubs and the flowers, with 
which the earth is adorned ; he cannot behold the 
effects of the ever-varying seasons ; and it is not there- 
fore strange that he does not so fully appreciate the 
great lessons they teach. But there is a world within, 
transcending in beauty, sublimity and magnificence the 
world without. The blind man turns inward his gaze, 
and there reads the instructive and solemn lessons 
which the aAvful monitor of God is perpetually incul- 
cating. There is, in the ever-growing intellect, in the 
ever-expanding affections of the heart, and in those 


minute, delicate, and ever-varying shades of thought to 
which they give rise, far more to impress the contem- 
plative mind with the wisdom, goodness, and glory of 
God, than the material world with its multiplied objects 
of beauty can ever afford. There is, besides, in the 
very circumstances in which the blind man is placed, 
in that very dependence incidental to one in his situa- 
tion, that which is calculated to awaken faith and to 
inspire confidence in the Supreme Being. What is it 
that enables him to thread the streets of our largest 
cities, or to traverse at will a whole extent of country, 
unaided and alone? You answer, perhaps, that he 
relies upon the aid which his other senses afford him ; 
and this, to a certain extent, is true; but there is an 
influence greater than that which the senses confer ; it 
is a belief in that unseen hand that ever guides and 
protects him. It is the consciousness of the perpetual 
presence of one that, " like a cloud by day and a pillar 
of fire by night," guides him along his darkened path- 

From the preceding remarks it will be seen that we 
are far from agreeing with those who suppose that the 
deprivation of any of the organs of the senses must of 
necessity exert an unfavorable influence upon the devel- 
opment of the moral and religious sentiments. We are, 
on the contrary, of the opinion that, so far as blindness 
is concerned, the reverse is more frequently true. We 
think it would not be difficult to show that the material 
world exerts a positively pernicious mfluenee upon the 
intellectual and moral development of the majority of 
mankind. Sight is indeed necessary for nearly all the 
practical purposes of life; but that the blind enjoy 
greater opportunities for the cultivation of their spirit- 
DAL NATURE, in conscquence of their exemption from the 


contaminating influence of the material objects by 
which they are surrounded, cannot, I think, be denied. 
It must be borne in mind, that our observations on the 
effects of bhndness are only applicable to the blind 
generally; that there are many exceptions, we do not 

It is, I think, apparent, that when any one of the or- 
gans of the senses is diseased or destroyed, its effects 
must be much more considerable and deleterious upon 
the INTELLECTUAL than the moral nature, and for the sim- 
ple reason that the former is much more dependent on 
the senses for its development than the latter. 

The influence which blindness exerts in modifying 
and retarding the development of the intellect is, with- 
out doubt, considerable, though by no means as great 
as is sometimes represented. The perceptive powers, 
as they are denominated by the phrenologist, are those 
which, in the mind of the blind man, are least active. 
Individuality, for instance, or the power by which we 
are able to distinguish different objects around us, is 
almost entirely dependent on the eye for its cultivation. 
The same is also true, though not to so great an extent, 
of form, size, &c. The reflective faculties are less de- 
pendent on sight, and accordingly we find them the 
most active in blind persons. Nicholas Sanderson 
and Dr. Henry Moyes, distinguished blind men of the 
last century, whose attainments in the abstract sci- 
ences, and in the Newtonian philosophy, astonished the 
world, must have had causality, comparison, eventu- 
ality, &c., largely developed. 

The surprising extent to which some blind persons 
have cultivated memory is a matter of notoriety. This 
power is by no means the most important with which 
we are endowed, but that course of training best fitted 


to call it forth, is tliat which is most eminently calcu- 
lated to promote the exercise of most of the higher fac- 
ulties. Unattracted by surrounding objects, the blind 
man early cultivates the power of concentration, by 
which he is enabled to fix his mind at once upon any 
given subject, or to marshal all his powers for the solu- 
tion of an intricate problem. It is this, together with 
his astonishing memory, that enables him to overcome, 
in the pursuit of knowledge, those mighty disadvan- 
tages to which the want of sight subjects him, so as to 
compete with, and sometimes even to surpass, his more 
fortunate fellows.* In concluding this part of our sub- 
ject, we would merely observe, that, for the most part, 
the unfavorable effect which blindness exerts upon the 
development of the mental powers, can in a great mea- 
sure be overcome by energy and perseverance. 

Deprivation of sight is a physical calamity, and its 
most appalling effects are, after all, essentially physical 
in their nature. It is not in the hours of study and con- 
templation that the blind man feels most keenly a sense 
of his misfortune, but it is when he goes forth into the 
world, and attempts to perform his part in the every-day 
duties of life, that he is made sensible of the great dis- 
parity that must ever exist between him and the rest of 
mankind. In the performance of almost all the duties 
growing out of the relation he sustains to those around 
him, the blind man is compelled to contend with obstacles, 
many of which he can never hope to overcome. Doomed 
to feel his way at 'every step, exposed to dangers he has 
no mxcans of avoiding, liable almost every moment of his 

* A graduate of the Parisian Institution for the Education of the 
Blind, came forward in a public controversy for the mathematical 
prizes at Paris, and, after carrying them all off, was named for the 
Professor of Mathematics in the University of Anglers. 


existence to accidents which may render him even more 
dependent, his situation is truly pitiable. Shjouded. from 
the cradle to the grave, in midnight darkness ; uncon- 
scious of the existence of aught in the material world but 
that with which he is brought in immediate contact, and 
which is within the limited range of his other senses ; 
never participating in the deep delight imparted by the 
contemplation of all animated nature ; and, for the most 
part, consigned to ignorance and degradation, — to pov- 
erty, with its thousand vfoes; — such has been, and 
such is still, to a very great extent, the fate of the blind 
man. In all the avocations of life, he finds himself un- 
able to compete with his more favored fellow-men. In 
human society, where sight seems requisite to supply 
every want, he is an anomaly ; and then, think too of 
that crushing sense of dependence to which he is sub- 
jected, — that utter incapacity to supply his physical 
wants, — and then say, if you can, if there be in the wide 
world one who needs more the protection of Heaven, and 
the sympathy of his race, than the ill-fated blind man. 
The fact that he is able to study mathematics and the 
physical sciences, intellectual and moral philosophy, 
&c., affords, without doubt, great alleviation to a condi- 
tion which would otherwise be insupportable. There 
would be but little to lament in the life of a blind man, 
if there were no other effects of his misfortune than 
those exhibited in the comparatively trifling influence it 
exerts in modifying the development of his intellectual 
faculties and moral sentiments; for the effect producecT 
upon the mind by the deprivation of any of the senses 
is at most but partial, controlling only some one of its 
functions, often stimulating the higher faculties to 
greater exertions, and thus, as it were, correcting the 
evil it creates. 


The evil attendant on blindness is objective, if we 
may be allowed the expression. It comes from the pe- 
culiar constitution of the world without. It is the dark- 
ness in which he is shrouded; — it is the want of that 
sunlight which can alone reveal to him the dangers by 
which he is surrounded; — it is the destitution of a 
requisite power to contend successfully against the ob- 
stacles which everywhere present themselves in this 
world of change and selfishness, that constitutes the , 
misery of the blind man's existence. 

To remove these obstacles as much as possible, — to 
afford him a more equal chance in the great struggle of 
life, should be the aim, as it is, without doubt, the in- 
terest, of society. Much has already been accomplished. 
The blessings of a good education have been extended 
to those who, a few years ago, were thought to be 
placed, by their misfortune, beyond its reach. The 
light of knowledge has at length illumined the home of 
the blind man. The most appalling calamity to which 
a human being can ever be subjected has yielded to 
the untiring and indefatigable efforts of the humane and 
benevolent. May we not indulge the hope that yet 
more will be accomplished T- 

True philanthropy never tires. The ingenuity which 
has devised methods of teaching the blind man to read, 
will yet succeed, we trust, in discovering some way by 
which, with his own exertions, and without the aid of 
others, he will be able to place himself on an equality 
with those around him, and contribute his share to the 
various and ever-changing wants of society. Then in- 
deed will be realized that beautiful prophecy of sacred 
writ : "I will bring the blind by a way that they know 
not; I will lead them in paths that they have not 
known ; I will make darkness light before them, and 


crooked things straight. These things will I do unto 
them, and not forsake them." 

We trust that in the few necessarily brief remarks we 
have made upon the effects of blindness, we shall not 
be misunderstood. We have spoken of those only that 
have attracted the most general attention, and that 
seem to us legitimate and unavoidable. We are aware 
that there are others that have been made the subject 
of animadversion by those who have investigated this 
subject. The peevishness, irritability, and fretfulness 
of some blind persons, is supposed to be the natural and 
unavoidable results of their misfortune. We appre- 
hend, however, that more mature reflection will be 
sufficient to satisfy the most prejudiced that these una- 
miable traits are but the effects of that misplaced and 
excessive indulgence which it is so common to bestow 
on the blind, especially in early life. The same inev- 
itable results will follow when seeing persons are sub- 
jected to the like treatment. The morbid sensibility to 
the opinions of others, which the blind so often evince, 
is by no means the natural consequence of their peculiar 
misfortune. It is one of the characteristics of all those 
who, like the blind, are doomed from early infancy to a 
system calculated to impress them with a sense of their 
inferiority and dependence on those around them. In 
short, all those peculiarities commonly regarded as the 
effects of blindness upon the moral constitution, are 
mainly chargeable to a defective, or rather a total want 
of a proper education, at that period of existence when 
the mind is most susceptible to impressions from 

There is a common, and what we cannot help re- 
garding an erroneous, idea entertamed respecting the 
blind, about which we would offer a remark or two. 


We sometimes hear it said, that he who has never seen 
cannot possibly appreciate the loss he has sustained, 
tf this assertion be true, then he has sustained no loss 
whatever. We cannot but think this a cunning con- 
trivance of those who do not wish to be considered as 
wanting in sympathy for the sufferings of others. We 
would do no one injustice; we have often heard this 
opinion advanced by those whose kindness of heart 
could not be questioned ; but, at the same time, it can- 
not be denied that there are those who make use of it 
to cover an ill-disguised heartlessness. There is scarce- 
ly a moment in a blind man's existence, in which he is 
not reminded of the advantages which sight confers. 
In the very act of moving from one place to another, 
and in the labor required in the most common avoca- 
tions of life, he is made to feel, and sometimes keenly 
too, the nature of the calamity to which he is subjected; 
but it will be said, admitting that he can fully estimate 
the disadvantages with which he has to contend in per- 
forming all the ordinary duties of life, he is still unable 
to appreciate the many pleasures derived from nature, 
and which those who have sight can alone enjoy. As 
we have never known those pleasures, we may be 
thought poorly calculated to decide the question. We 
would, however, suggest the possibility that the blind 
man may, by the aid of his imagination in endeavoring 
to conceive of the advantages of vision, sometimes over- 
rate them. 

He often hears those around him speak of the effect 
of a sunset, of the appearance of a rainbow, or of the 
beauty of a landscape. The ideas which he obtains may 
not be the same as those imparted to the mind through 
the medium of the eye ; they probably are not ; still, we 
are inclined to believe, that if we had any means by 


which we could compare his conceptions of external na- 
ture and its varied phenomena, that they might equal, 
and sometimes surpass, in vividness and grandeur, those 
received through the medium of sight. There is a 
very intimate and inexplicable connection between our 
thoughts and the objects in the external world by which 
they are excited, and which impart either pleasurable 
or painful emotions. Now, may it not be (we mention 
it merely as a suggestion) that the blind man, by means 
of an association of ideas, the result of some laws of 
mind or processes of thought not yet fully understood, 
may succeed in obtaining, to say the least, some con- 
ception of form, color, beauty, and the other attributes 
of matter ? We know that there is an analogy between 
the impressions made upon the mind through the differ- 
ent senses. 

The effect of light upon the optic nerve is probably 
the same as that produced by sound upon the auditory 
nerve. If this be true, then is the question, Has the 
blind man aft idea of colors? no longer problematical. 

These remarks may seem crude and imperfect, but 
the subject is, after all, one of mere speculation. We 
have been anxious, however, to express our views, and 
we have done so. If what we have written has thrown 
any light upon the effects of a deprivation to which so 
many of our race are subjected, our purpose is accom- 




Oh ! world, how strange thy lots are given. 
Life's aim how rarely understood ! 

There is something altogether unaccountable in 
almost every circumstance of our lives. The events 
which transpire from day to day, are, to the limited 
comprehension of man, but a succession of mysteries. 
So that life, no matter how active, seems but a mere 
dream. How altogether unaccountable are the changes 
and vicissitudes to which we are subjected, as we move 
on in our prescribed paths, from the cradle to the grave ; 
— and how constantly we are guided by that Unseen 
Hand which shapes all our destinies, " rou%h-hew them 
as we may." 

It has in all ages been the aim of the highest and 
noblest philosophy, to explain the nature of man, his 
complicated relations to his kind, and to his Creator, 
and to solve the great problem of life ; but thus far it 
has only succeeded in rendering more profound the 
dark labyrinths in which we are shrouded. So that 
the wisest of us can only say, we know that we dorCt 

We need but behold the imposing grandeur that 
everywhere presents itself in the material universe, to 
be overwhelmed with the vastness and incomprehensi- 
bleness of that stupendous design, of which we are 
but a part. The great lesson of life, however, can 


never be thoroughly learned, until we are able to see 
the significance of every event, however trivial in itself. 

It would naturally be supposed that there could not 
be much in the life of a blind man to give interest to a 
story, or to point a moral, and this would be true, if our 
life was all outward in its manifestations ; but as it hap- 
pens that in the present state of existence what we do 
is but an imperfect expression of what we think and 
feel, and that our actions (no matter how broad the 
theatre in which they display themselves) can, at best, 
but very imperfectly express the thoughts that origi- 
nated them ; therefore, if we would learn the great idea 
which every one is commissioned to express, — if we 
would read the great message written by the finger of 
God in the pulsations of every human heart, we must 
cast inwardly our gaze, and forgetting all else, devote 
our energies to the deciphering of those mystic hiero- 
glyphics, which can alone reveal the purpose of our 

It was my good fortune, many years ago, to become 
acquainted with one who, like myself, had from early 
infancy been deprived of the inestimable blessing of 
sight. As there was but little in the outward world 
which could interest us, the time we spent in each 
other's society was occupied in a mutual interchange 
of thought and feeling; — in communicating to each 
other our experience, and in the enjoyment of those 
higher pleasures that flow from the exercise of the intel- 
lect and the moral sentiments. We unbosomed our- 
selves to each other without that reserve which too 
often marks the intercourse of those who are bomid 
.ogether only by the common ties of sympathy and 

Now that the grave has closed over my friend, and his 


pure spirit has gone to that world of which when here 
he could only dream, I may be permitted to relate some 
of the incidents of his earthly pilgrimage, and express 
as best I may, through the imperfect medium of lan- 
guage, the experience of a noble mind trained in the 
severe school of adversity. 


Laght to thy path, bright creature ! I would charm 
Thy being, if I could, that it should be 
Even as now thou dreamest, and flow on, 
Thus innocent and beautiful, to heaven. 


It was midnight, but in one of the apartments of the 
mansion of Mrs. Morton a light was still burning, and 
one of earth's fairest angels, prompted by affection that 
never slumbers, was watching with deep solicitude an 
infant boy. To have seen that mother's face, naturally 
beautiful when adorned in its accustomed smiles, but 
now made more deeply interesting by the expression of 
intense anxiety it wore, it would not have been difficult 
to divine the sorrow tlmt like a dark cloud lay heavily 
upon her heart. A few hours before it had been com- 
municated to her that, after careful examination by an 
eminent oculist, it was decided that her child would 
never more return her fond glance, or look as he was 
wont upon his mother's face. In short, that the disease 
with which he had been afflicted had deprived him 
forever of the use of his eyes, and that though he might 
again recover his health, it would be only to grope his 
way through the world in darkness. There, in silent 
agony, stood the mother by the bedside of her child, 
with her arms folded upon her bosom, her eyes bathed 


in tears, and fixed, with an intensity of grief that words 
can but poorly express, upon the lovely form of her 
infant boy, as he lay wrapped in sleep, all unconscious 
of the misfortune which had determined his destiny, 
and which had shrouded with sorrow the heart of his 
fond mother. Long and earnestly did that afflicted 
mother pray to God that the spirit of her child might be 
taken back to heaven ere it should be corrupted by the 
noxious atmosphere of earth, or compelled to feel the 
evils incidental to a; calamity that no love, however 
devoted, could alleviate. Possessing that far-reaching 
sight which is the peculiar gift of pure hearts, she had 
surveyed the dark and troubled pathway which her 
child must traverse, if he should be permitted to live ; 
and she could but pray that the angels who guarded 
his pillow might bear his spirit to the bosom of his 
Father in heaven. But his destiny upon earth was 
appointed. There was in the distant future an expe- 
rience which he alone could meet ; for the rich pearls 
that lie concealed in his heart must needs be burnished 
and brightened by sorrow. 

Morning came ! but to the mansion of Mr. Morton it 
brought no joy. The rays of the sunlight but made 
more visible to its hapless inmates the terrible visitation 
which to them seemed worse than death; but the 
human heart soon familiarizes itself with sorrow, and 
when sanctified by religion, it can look beyond the dark 
cloud, to the serene and beautiful sky beyond. 

Day after day Mrs. Morton looked upon her boy, and 
observed the healthful glow returning to his cheek ; she 
was delighted to find that he had lost none of that 
sprightliness and vivacity peculiar to his age, and with 
that fond afiection which a mother alone can feel, she 
strove by all the means in her power to prevent him 


from becoming saddened by a consciousness of the 
deprivation to which he was subjected. 

A few words seem necessary, to make the reader 
better acquainted with those of whom we shall speak, 
and with whom the history of our hero is identified. 
Mr. Morton, at the time our story commences, was a 
distinguished lawyer ; he had for several years been 

settled in the large town of P , where he had 

acquired an extensive practice. Three years pre- 
viously, he had connected himself in marriage to a 
wealthy and influential family, and, in the language of 
the world, bid fair to do well. The only event which 
occurred to mar his happiness for the first five years of 
his married life, was that to which we have already 
referred. Mr. Morton was what is usually denominated 
a matter-of-fact man. He looked upon every event of 
life with the eye of a philosopher. When, therefore, 
his only child, not yet two years old, was attacked with 
an inveterate and a malignant disease that deprived 
him of sight, he regarded it as one of those unavoidable 
occurrences for which there was no remedy but sub- 
mission. Still, it was a great disappointment to the 
father, for he saw, as he thought, his son thus cut off 
forever from the sphere of activity and usefulness, and 
consigned to a life of ignorance and of wretchedness ; 
but accustomed as he was to contemplate misery as it 
presents itself in all its thousand forms in the world at 
large, and with which the duties of his profession 
brought him into daily contact, it did not make so deep 
an impression upon him, as on the more tender and 
susceptible mind of Mrs. Morton. 

There is something in the quiet beauty of a child's 
face that is irresistibly attractive, for it reveals to the 
eye the workings of an uncorrupted soul. It has often 


seemed to me that if I could be permitted to look for a 
moment into the face of my own sweet child, and see 
the beauty that beams from those innocent eyes, and 
the smile that plays upon her tremulous lips, — tremu- 
lous with the heart's deep joy, — I could consent, without 
a murmur, to have the world, if it were possible, veiled 
in double darkness for the rest of my existence. It is, 
I suppose, a fact, that the countenance owes much of its 
beauty to the expression of the eyes ; but when they 
have become darkened by misfortune, affection can still 
read in the lineaments of the face, and in the brow's 
expansion, the workings of a soul struggling to manifest 

Thus did Mrs. Morton contemplate the features of 
her child, to read there the manifestations of his grow- 
ing mind. And if she involuntarily sighed as she 
looked on "those orbs by dim suffusion veiled," she 
was rejoiced to find, both by his looks and his actions, 
that he might be enabled in after life to rise superior to 
the difficulties with which the path of the blind is beset. 


" The day was bright and beautiful, 
The boys to play were gone, 
Save one, who sat beside the door 
Dejected and alone. 

" And as the tone of merry sport 
Came faintly to his ear. 
He sighed ! and from his swollen lids, 
He brushed the falling tear." 

We pass over the early childhood of Henry Morton, 
with the remark that for the first eight years of his life 
he basked in the sunshine of parental affection. All 


that a parent's love, heightened by his misfortune, 
could do, was done to promote his happiness. The 
intuitive love of knowledge which he early manifested 
was carefully fostered. Much pains were taken to gratify 
his curiosity, and to explain to him the nature of those 
things with which he was brought into daily contact 
by means of his other senses. 

When only eight years of age, Henry lost his father, 
who died in consequence of a severe attack of typhus 
fever. After this event, Mrs. Morton, compelled by her 
limited resources, went with her only son to reside 
with her brother, and she determined to devote herself 
to the education of her boy. 

This excellent woman possessed not only the deep 
affection which characterizes her sex, but a vigorous 
intellect, and a sound judgment. She saw that there 
was a peculiar necessity that her son should receive a 
thorough education to fit him for usefulness to himself 
and others. No one was better qualified to discharge 
this duty than his mother. 

The vicissitudes of human life baflle all calculation ; 
we plan, only to see our plans thwarted; — the reality 
of manhood never equals the dream of youth, and it 
may be safely said that no one ever realizes all that he 
hopes for. How different is to-day from yesterday ! 
How difierent will to-morrow be from to-day ! What 
eloquent sermons the accidents of life are perpetually 
preaching, as we are borne on in the irresistible current 
from the cradle to the grave ! How poor and puny 
seem our greatest efforts, how utterly inadequate our 
loftiest aspirations ! All men leave the world before their 
work is finished; yet 'tis beautiful to live! and to 
experience in embryo Avhat we shall one day enjoy in 
complete fruition. 


There is a sweet fragrance in a well-spent day, that 
blesses whole generations; thrice happy he who can 
Uve and die like the flowers! and carry with him to 
neaven a consciousness that he has loved, and has been 
beloved. So lived, so died Mrs. Morton. For about 
three years after her husband's death, she devoted her- 
self with assiduity to the object which lay nearest her 
heart, the education of Henry; and the progress he 
made was, considering his circumstances, truly remark- 
able ; but the great lesson which she taught him, as he 
afterwards remarked to me, was to live a pure life, — 
to love everything, and despise nothing which God had 
made. Oh how blessed is that mother who can imprint 
such a beautiful truth on the heart of her son, and leave 
behind her such an inestimable legacy ! 

Poor Henry ! he did not long enjoy the kindly instruc- 
tions of his mother. It was on the anniversary of his 
eleventh birthday that she called him to her bedside 
and told him she must soon die. A few days pre- 
vious, the carriage which was conveying her to the 
house of a friend was thrown over, and she so severely 
injured that recovery was impossible. She lingered a 
few days, and piously devoted that time to preparing 
the mind of her son for the great loss he was about to 
sustain. It was evening. The physician had declared 
it utterly impossible for her to survive until morning. 
Henry sat at her bedside, pressing her hand in his, and 
listening intently to the few words she was able to 
utter. The injury which she had received by the acci- 
dent referred to was mostly internal, and it was, there- 
fore, with great difficulty that she was able to speak. 
What she did utter was of heaven, and the angels, and 
of the time when she should again be united to her 
husband and her child, never more to be parted. At 


length the awful moment came when this pure and 
gifted being was to take her flight to her home in the 
skies ; and while giving utterance to a brief prayer, in 
which she invoked the blessing of God on her child, 
she expired. The angels rejoice when such a spirit re- 
turns to heaven, but human hearts weep, for great is 
the loss. 

There were none in the wide world that felt this loss 
so deeply as did the poor blind orphan boy, as he stood by 
the open coffin with his hand upon that brow which he 
had so often kissed, but which was now as cold as mar- 
ble, conveying to his young heart the first chilling sensa- 
tion which that darkest mystery of life always produces 
when first contemplated. When his father died, he felt 
that there was still one who could assuage his grief, and 
who would still guide his footsteps by the light of her 
love ; but now she too was taken from him, and there 
were none left to guide him in his darkness ; he needed 
not to behold the shroud, the pall, and the hearse, to 
remind him of the loss he had sustained. The voice 
which had been to him as the sunlight of existence 
was silent forever; — its sweet pensive tones would now 
only gladden his dreams. 

The funeral solemnities were over. The last sad 
rites had been performed, and Henry Morton was alone 
in his wretchedness. There was nothing to assuage the 
grief of his heart, but the deep eloquence of silence. For 
weeks after the death of his mother, he might be seen 
walking alone almost constantly at the place where was 
entombed the object of his heart's best affections. He 
brought no flowers, but he watered her grave with the 
tears that flowed from eyes that seemed given only to 

Months passed away, and the heart of Henry Morton 


gradually recovered its wonted cheerfulness. Suffering 
had rendered his temper more serene, and imparted a 
deeper beauty to his daily life. To those who teheld 
him, as he sat for hours together pensively musing upon 
the vicissitudes of life, he appeared to be in a perpetual 
dream ; for though very young, yet he had been accus- 
tomed to employ those hours which had been given by 
others to the sports of childhood, in analyzing his own 
thoughts. It was to this habit that he attributed his 
fondness, in after life, for speculative philosophy. His 
mother, at her death, consigned him to the care of his 
uncle, with whom they resided. Mr. William Marshall 
was a merchant, who, having acquired a fair fortime, 
had retired from business. He had purchased an ele- 
gant residence in the vicinity of P . It was situ- 
ated on an eminence that overlooked the town, affording 
a fine view of the Hudson, stretching far in the distance, 
and bearing, on its quiet bosom, its many floating pal- 
aces. Here Mr. Marshall hoped to pass the remaining 
years of his life in the enjoyment of that elegant leisure 
which his wealth enabled him to sustain. He was a 
man of respectable literary talents and some taste. He 
had purchased a large library, and devoted his hours 
of retirement to those intellectual pursuits which his 
devotion to business in the former part of his life had 
compelled him to neglect. 

When his sister became a widow, he invited her to 
make his house her future home. And at her death he 
promised to provide for her unfortunate son ; how far he 
was enabled to fulfil this promise, the sequel will show. 
Deprived of the companionship of the only being who 
could know his wants, and whose sympathies were 
alone adequate to supply them, Henry Morton spent 
nearly two years after his mother's death, in a state of 


comparative inactivity. Occasionally he found a friend 
who would read to him a pleasant story, or the biogra- 
phy of some great man ; but for the most part his time 
was spent sitting by the door-side, or beneath some 
shady tree that protected him from the heat of that sun 
whose light he could not see, wondering at the strange 
fatality which prevented him from sharing the plays and 
sports which rendered other children of his age so happy 
and joyous. As he thus mused alone, he wept. At 
length there came glad news to cheer the heart of our 
hero. What that news was, we will relate in another 


" We have a lamp within, 

That knowledge fain would light, 
And pure religion's hand would touch 
With beams forever bright. 

" Say, shall it rise and share 
Such radiance full and free ? 
And will ye keep the Saviour's charge, 
And cause the blind to see ?" 

About the year 1832, there were institutions estab- 
lished for the education of the blind in Boston, New 
York, and soon after in Philadelphia. 

Mr. Marshall had a friend who had formerly been a 
partner with him in business, who was then residing 
in the latter city. Through his influence, Henry Mor- 
ton was received as a pupil in the institution that had 
been established there. It was arranged by Mr. Marshall 
that Henry should board in the family with his friend, 
and should attend at the institution daily to receive in- 
struction. He possessed an ardent love of knowledge, 
which, coupled with great energy of character, soon oh- 


tained for him high consideration among his fellow- 
pupils, and his amiable disposition won for him their 
esteem and love. He studied with diligence and assi- 
duity ; and during the three years he remained at the 
institution, he enjoyed the esteem and friendship of its 
illustrious benefactor. Professor Freelander. And upon 
his leaving that establishment, he received a marked 
proof of that gentleman's regard. 

It was the intention of young Morton to enter college, 
and for this purpose he again returned to his native 
town ; but, to his great disappointment, he found that his 
uncle, on whose assistance he depended, had lost nearly 
all his property. Mr. Marshall, like many other wealthy 
gentlemen of that day, became deeply involved in the 
land speculations, which, together with the failure of a 
bank in which he was extensively concerned, deprived 
him of nearly all his hard-earned wealth, and compelled 
him to dispose of his elegant mansion to meet his liabil- 
ities, and to establish his family in a situation which 
would enable him to live within his limited resources. 
He therefore informed his nephew that he must hence- 
forth be the arbiter of his own fortune. Thus unex- 
pectedly was Henry, at the age of sixteen, with nothing 
to depend on but a clear head and a sound heart, thro\vn 
upon a world where the chances were nearly all agamst 
him. Determined not to relinquish the idea of obtain- 
ing a liberal education, he wrote to several wealthy 
persons whose acquaintance he had made during a 
residence in Philadelphia ; but they declined, delicately, 
of course, to afford him any assistance. Professor Free- 
lander, though confined by a fit of sickness, from which 
he never recovered, wrote to him an encouraging letter, 
advising him to collect together the ditferent articles he 
had written while at school, and publish them in book 


form, the avails of which would enable him to prosecute 
his plans. Availing himself of this suggestion, he at 
once proceeded to Philadelphia to carry it into effect. 
He possessed a lively imagination, and if he could have 
seen, he would have excelled as a descriptive poet. As 
it was, he wrote several fine pieces, which, if the de- 
scriptions of external imagery were not always perfect, 
certainly proved that even in the mind of the blind 
man there was a keen perception of the beautiful, which 
only needed forms in which it might express itself His 
prose composition was characterized with a simplicity 
and elegance truly astonishing to those not accustomed 
to consider the rapidity with which a blind man may 
acquire knowledge on all those subjects of thought that 
do not require to be illustrated by images drawn from 
the external world. After considerable difficulty, young 
Morton succeeded in preparing his manuscript for the 
press. He found he had materials enough for a small 
volume of about two hundred and fifty pages, which he 
entitled " Flowers and Tears." 

He presented his manuscript successively to six dif- 
ferent publishing-houses before he could find one who 
would undertake its publication. At length, however, 
he succeeded in finding a publisher, who agreed to issue 
the work at his own risk, provided he should be allowed 
half the receipts for the first edition, and a third part of 
the profits for every other edition. And this, he assured 
the author, was extremely liberal. But he consented 
to it in consideration of his blindness. To support him- 
self until he should realize something from his books, our 
hero endeavored to obtain a situation as organist in one 
of the churches. 

While at the institution he had made great attain- 
ments as a musician, and was a good performer on the 


organ and pianoforte. It was his intention, after he 
should have finished his collegiate course, to devote 
himself entirely to the cultivation of music. It would, 
however, be a long time before he could realize enough 
from his book to pay his expenses, and he thought if he 
could obtain a situation as organist, he could in this 
way gain a livelihood. Accordingly, he applied to sev- 
eral of the churches where he thought his services might 
be needed, but in every instance he was disappointed. 
From one he received a reply, that they could not un- 
derstand how a blind man could possibly perform on 
the organ ; from another, that he was too young ; and 
from a third, that he was not a member of that church ; 
and from all, the emphatic No ! He next endeavored to 
obtain pupils to instruct on the pianoforte, and for this 
purpose inserted in the papers his advertisement, which, 
as it did not state the fact that he was bhnd, obtained 
for him several applications. To secure some of them, 
who found it difficult to conceive how he could instruct 
them to finger the instrument, he found it necessary to 
reduce the price of tuition about one half of the sum 
usually paid to others, whose only advantage was that 
they had eyes. Let no one assert that we exaggerate ; 
we are only endeavoring to portray the vicissitudes to 
which many a blind man is daily subjected. 


" The man that 's resolute and just, 
Firm to his principles and trust, 
Nor hopes nor fears can bind." 

Of the success of Henry Morton as a music teacher, 
we will only say, that he was scarcely able to defray 
his expenses. There were those who, without possess- 


ing half his ability, succeeded in their ad captandum 
appeals to the prejudices of the people, to persuade them 
that it was utterly impossible for a blind man to teach. 
The day at length arrived when the book was ready 
for distribution, and the heart of the poor blind author, 
too keenly sensitive to the opinions of others, trembled 
as he thought of the reception it would be likely to meet 
with from those literary cut-throats called critics. 

To the great joy of our author, his little volume was 
favorably received by nearly all the reviewers. They 
spoke of it as highly commendable as the first effort of 
a young author, and commended it to all those who 
would patronize unpretending merit and true genius. 
Unfortunately, the work made its appearance in Janu- 
ary, 1836. At that time, any political treatise, or a Life 
of General Jackson, was much more likely to find pur- 
chasers, as the whole country was agitated by the pend- 
ing national election. The consequence Txras that there 
were but few who cared to read a work so unpretending 
as "Flowers and Tears." It, therefore, remained for 
months on the shelf of the bookseller unsold. Disap- 
pointed and despairing of ever being able to accomplish 
his object of obtaining a collegiate education, Morton, 
had he possessed a less ardent mind, would have sunk 
under the difficulties with which, at this time, he had 
to contend ; but being fortunately endowed with a large 
share of that faculty which phrenologists denominate 
Jirmness, he was determined that if he could not obtain 
a finished education, he would at least support himself 
by his own exertions ; he accordingly resolved that he 
would travel through the United States, and endeavor 
to dispose of his book. A few weeks only were spent 
in the city of Philadelphia in going from house to house, 


and in offering with diffidence his book to all those to 
whom he could obtain access. 

There were few who looked on his sunken eyes, that 
did not purchase, and he soon had the satisfaction of 
disposing of between two and three hundred copies. 
He next visited the great metropolis of the western 
world, New York city. And there, day after day, he 
might be seen, with a boy to guide him, going from 
house to house, now disposing of a book, and now 
receiving a cold denial. Sometimes, a purchaser, turn- 
ing over the leaves, would remark that this or that 
piece was beautiful, and then the countenance of the 
blind author would beam with satisfaction. Others 
there were who had the heartlessness to remark, that, 
though they purchased the book, they decidedly disap- 
proved of the method he had chosen to gain a liveli- 
hood, and hinted that there had been places established 
for such persons, at the expense of the state. 

These, it is true, were exceptions. The instinctive 
sympathy of the human heart, which the misery 
everywhere to be seen in a large city cannot entirely 
blunt, usually obtained for Henry a fa\^orable reception 
wherever he presented himself Sometimes he was 
politely invited to enter the house and rest, and then the 
gentle voices of those who were prepossessed in his 
favor by his unpretending manners, as well as by the 
sympathy awakened by his misfortunes, would speak 
encouraging words. None but those who have been 
placed in his situation, can form any adequate concep- 
tion of the effect which a kind word often has upon 
the heart of the unfortunate. It was in this way that 
he contrived to dispose, in a few months, of the greater 
portion of the first edition of his work, the profits of 


which were nearly all engrossed by the liberal pub- 

Another edition was soon issued from the press, on 
more advantageous terms than was at first proposed. 
He disposed of this in the same manner. In this way, 
he contrived, not only to maintain himself, but to obtain 
means to employ an amanuensis both to read and to 
write for him ; and he actually contrived, while travel- 
ling in diiferent parts of the country to attend to his 
intellectual pursuits, as well as to note i'l his journal 
the varied incidents of his precarious life. And it 
would be interesting, were we permitted to give his 
observations upon men and things, to mark with what 
nice discrimination he was enabled to distinguish the 
characters of men by their address and by the tones of 
their voices. And it is probable that his conceptions 
were usually as correct as if he had been permitted to 
behold the human countenance. 

It was his custom, on visiting a new place, to examine 
all the objects of general interest. He could form, for 
instance, a pretty fair idea of the architecture of a 
building, by an examination of its different parts with 
his hands ; and when this was impossible, by availing 
himself of the description of others. Thus he was 
enabled to obtain quite as correct an idea of different 
objects in the material world, as many a seeing person 
who is satisfied with stupidly gazing upon them. In 
this way did our hero spend his life, until he had 
reached his twentieth year. He was in the habit of 
making an annual visit to his native town ; for in all 
the vicissitudes to which he had been subjected, he still 
retained in his heart the memory of those early days, 
when, blessed by a mother's love, he dreamed of naught 
but sunshine and gladness. 



Hast thou one heart that loves thee 

In this dark world of care, 
Whose gentle smiles approve thee ? — 

Yield not to dark despair. 

Having spoken in the preceding chapters of some of 
the external circumstances in the hfe of Henry Morton, 
it is now necessary to consider their effect in modifying 
and changing the views and impressions of childhood. 

It is a sufficient proof that the state of society in 
which we live is lamentably imperfect, and the educa- 
tion we receive is altogether inadequate to accomplish 
its high purpose, that the pure faith of our childhood, 
which seems to connect us with nature and with God, 
is clouded and dissipated at the very moment when we 
most need its influence. We hear much of the power 
of experience in developing the mighty energies of the 
human soul. We are told that man must pass through 
the fiery ordeal of life, to fit him for heaven. Much is 
said of manly heroic virtue, brought into exercise by 
terrible temptations; but for our own part, we had 
much rather have retained the innocence of our child- 
hood through life, than to be marred and scarred with 
the withering, blighting influence of sin. And may we 
not indulge the hope, that the day will come, when he 
who shall carry the simple trust and beautiful confi- 
dence of an innocent heart with him into the busy 
world, shall not be regarded with derision and con- 
tempt? We are too apt to regard life only in its 
external aspect, to consider the actions, rather than the 
thoughts, as constituting by far the most important part 
of a man's history; yet many a one, whose simple story 
would not be thought sufficiently interesting to be 


written by the veriest scribbler, and whose entire earthly- 
existence has been passed in the Umited circle of a small 
town, may yet be conscious of an inward life, far more 
rich and varied with thought, than he whose range of 
observation may have encompassed the entire globe. 
He whom we look upon in the street with an averted 
eye, whom the rich and proud despise, and no one cares 
for, — the poor mendicant, — may yet cherish within 
the hidden recesses of his soul the germs of a purer 
love and a higher faith, than he who, with all those 
advantages which wealth and education confer, lives 
but the votary of pleasure and the victim of passion. 

The only rm/, the only actual^ the only permanent, 
is the immaterial, the ideal. Matter is continually 
changing ; but a great thought once uttered, can never 
die. The objective is only worthy of our attention in 
so far as it is a manifestation of the subjective. 

It is now time to return to the blind adventurer. We 
have frequently spoken of him as a hero, but not in the 
sense in which that term is usually employed; but 
because he carried with him for a period of twenty 
years the blessed consciousness of tlie divine within; 
because on entering manhood his heart still retained in 
all its primitive loveliness that purity and innocence 
which had been so carefully fostered at the dawn of his 
being. Perhaps he was indebted to his greatest appa- 
rent misfortune for that remarkable preservation from 
the contaminating influence of the world. 

He felt, at this period of his existence, a yearning for 
the sympathy of a kindred soul, for one whose aspira- 
tions, mingling with his, should ascend together to the 
Infinite. It was the pleadings of the gentle angel 
within him, and her pleadings could not be resisted. 
Long and patiently had she struggled, and now, if her 


pleadings were resisted, the darkness within would be 
even more profound than the darkness without. A 
mysterious hand, though ever unseen, marks with 
unerring certainty the destiny of men. Blessed is he 
who, conscious of this truth, yields at once to its 

It often happens that much of what is called good 
luck in life, is but the result of an apparently trivial 
event ; at least so thought Henry Morton, as he sat one 
evening in his room alone, reflecting on the events of 
the day. That day had been to him the most important 
of all the days of his life. It is quite certain he must 
have had some presentiment of it, judging from the 
manner in which he soliloquized : " Can it be that the 
souls of the good, after returning to heaven, again 
reappear on the earth, to inhabit another body, and to 
live over another existence? She seemed so like my 
mother ! The same rich, sweet tones that lulled me to 
sleep in my infancy. Oh ! how I wish I could see her 
face ; then could I in tnith say, my happiness is com- 
plete. What could have made her so kind to me ? 
There was such a deep tenderness in her voice as she 
read ; it seemed like the warbling of the birds, or the 
soft melodious strains of an ^olian harp. Could it 
have been mere sympathy that prompted these acts of 
kindness? Was it the wondrous pity of woman's 
heart, called forth by my misfortunes?" 

•As he spoke these last words, his countenance assumed 
an expression of deep sadness, for a dark cloud passed 
over the disc of his soul ; but it was momentary. The 
sunlight within soon dissipated the gloom, and made 
his countenance yet more radiant with joy, and he 
repeated with emphasis, "No! no ! It is love ! " 

During the time in which our hero was occupied in 


disposing of his books, in different parts of the country, 
he had formed an acquaintance with man)?" persons, 
who, attracted by liis pecuHar condition, had manifested 
for him some degree of interest. Such acquaintances 
were of course transient. In his deep and permanent 
friendship, there were few that shared. Though pos- 
sessing remarkable conversational powers, aiid endowed 
with the rare gift of expressing his thoughts with ease 
and elegance, yet he was usually retiring in his habits 
of life, preferring the communion of his own thoughts 
to that vague and unsatisfactory social intercourse, that 
one of our poets has described as "a babbling summer 

It was to one of those common occurrences of life, 
that he was indebted for the acquaintance and for the 
ultimately lasting regard of one of those few men, whom 
once to know is never to forget. We say common 
occurrences of life ; but to the clear eye of an unclouded 
mind, there is nothing common, nothing but that has a 
deep significance. 

Late one day, as Henry Morton was returning from 
the public library, he was accosted by a poor beggar, 
who solicited alms, and related the usual story of misery 
and want. In the effort to take from his pocket some 
loose change, he dropped one of his books. A gentle- 
man who happened to be passing, took the book from 
the ground and placed it in the hand of the owner. In 
the act of doing so, he perceived that he was blind. 
Prompted by mingled feelings of pity and curiosity, he 
addressed him. As they were both going in the same 
direction, a very pleasant conversation ensued, which 
resulted in a promise, on the part of our adventurer, 
that he would call the next day at the house of .the gen- 



The next day, agreeably to promise, he called on his 
new acquaintance, and was introduced to his family. 


" Hail, holy love ! fullest when 
Most thou givest." 

Col. Williams, for this was the name of the gentle- 
man spoken of in the preceding chapter, was a kind- 
hearted, generous man, who was actively engaged in 
all the philanthropic movements of the day, and he had 
been particularly interested in the efforts which had 
been made to establish an institution for the education 
of the blind in his native city. He possessed a large 
fortune, which he inherited from his father, and deserv- 
edly enjoying the confidence of his fellow-citizens, he 
had received from them marked proofs of their regard. 
And at the time he was introduced to the reader, he 
represented them in the Congress of the United States. 
In Henry Morton he at once took a deep and lively in- 

After listening to his simple story, discovering his 
many rare talents, and commiserating his lonely situa- 
tion, he determined to render him some assistance. He 
introduced him to his large circle of friends, and em- 
ployed him to instruct his only daughter in music. 

It may well be supposed that, beginning for the first 
time to occupy something like a social position in the 
world, the views and feelings of Henry Morton must 
undergo a considerable modification, and to some extent 
they certainly did. But he preserved to the last an un- 
contaminated heart. He adhered with fidelity and 
truthfulness to "the dream of his youth;" and never, 


amid the new relations of life to which he had been in- 
troduced by Col. Williams, did he for a moment forget 
the beautiful lesson which had been taught him by his 
mother, — " Love everything, and despise nothing which 
God hath made." He became a constant visitor at the 
house of his generous friend, and in the society of Mrs. 
Williams and his fair pupil many a blithesome hour 
sped all unconsciously away. 

Clara Williams was perhaps the only being on earth 
fully capable of appreciating our hero ; possessing a 
delicate and sensitive nature, she could admire those 
peculiarities in him, which others regarded as childish 
and weak; his unembarrassed manner, his freedom 
from all affectation, his playfulness and good-humor, 
could alone be fully understood by one who, like him- 
self, had preserved in her bosom a love for the simple 
and the truthful. By the light of their intuitions, they 
perceived that their idiosyncrasy was the same ; as they 
became acquainted with each other, their spirits seemed 
to blend, until it might be almost said that they were 
one being, possessing one consciousness. 

The power of perceiving spiritual affinities is a gift 
which Heaven has conferred upon pure hearts alone. 
The fire of passion, it is true, is often mistaken for the 
light of the spirit, and the demon that curses, for the 
angel that blesses ; but never until the heaven within 
has become darkened and clouded by sin. As Henry 
' returned home from his frequent visits at the house of 
Col. Williams, he often gave utterance to his feelings in 
soliloquies, to one of which we have already listened ; 
for he had found there the only being that could reflect 
his soul, and read his every thought. Music was the 
only language that could adequately express their bliss. 
Unmingled was their enjoyment with aught of sensu- 


ality. They loved, but it was not with that consuming 
passion enkindled by the high- wrought pages of ro- 
mance. It was the pure sentiment that inspired them 
at their birth, and which they had preserved to adorn 
their life. Yes, they loved ! As angels love, they 
sought no secluded bower where they might reveal it to 
each other. It shone forth in their daily life, filling their 
homes with peace. 

At length it began to be whispered about in the circle 
of Col. Williams' acquaintance that his daughter was 
about to become the bride of his blind protege. It pro- 
duced for a time what is called a sensation. Many 
wondered that the colonel should give his daughter to 
one who could never behold her beauty. But the day 
came, the rite was solemnized, and those that Heaven 
had united from the beginning, were man and wife. 
Over such a union the angels held jubilee in heaven. 

Cheered by each other's voices, and blessed by each 
other's love, the hours of their existence glided away 
calm and peaceful as the birds. The colonel and his 
lady were the delighted spectators of their innocent 
lives. They participated with them in all their recrea- 
tions. Part of the day was usually spent in reading the 
works of Plato, for they delighted to converse on the 
topics suggested by that work, in which Plato describes 
the last hours of his illustrious master, and the conver- 
sation which he held with his afflicted disciples. 

Henry would frequently repeat passages from Jean 
Paul, and tell Clara how often his loneliness had been 
cheered by the beautiful thoughts they suggested. She, 
on her part, would read to him portions from the Gospel 
of St. John, whose blessed words first awakened in her 
soul the consciousness of a higher life. Thus would 
they converse of philosophy and religion, lifting their 


souls from earth to heaven, for the circle of their exist- 
ence here would soon be completed, was whispered to 
them by the angels in their dreams. 


And then I think of those who in their youthful beauty died, 
The fair meek blossom that grew up and faded by my side ; 
In the cold, moist earth we laid them when the forest cast their leaf. 
And we wept that those so lovely should have a life so brief: 
Yet not unmeet it was that they, like those younsr friends of ours, 
So gentle and so beautiful, should perish with the flowers. 


To most persons the idea of death seems ta shroud 
the soul in gloom, and hence the grief that is often ex- 
perienced when those we have loved are taken from our 
midst. But if we regarded death as we should,^- as in 
fact but the beginning of a higher life, — we should rejoice 
when any of our friends enter upon it, and garlands of 
flowers would take the place of the shroud and the pall. 
This is the view inculcated by our holy religion, that 
the portal of the grave is the entrance to the spirit world. 
The tears we shed over the death-bed of the loved ones 
should testify pur joy that their work is done, — that 
their earthly mission is completed, and that they are 
now to return to the bosom of their Father in heaven. 
Two years of happiness, such as seldom falls to the lot 
of mortals, had passed away, when a change came; not 
to mar, but to render more complete, the union that ex- 
isted between Henry and Clara. It is possible that the 
wildest fancy may become a living reality. There is 
nothing that we can really conceive of but is suscepti- 
ble of actualization. The reason why the average of 
mankind are unable to discern the future, is because 
their imagination becomes corrupted by their gross con- 


ceptions of material things. To the pure spirits of the 
gifted beings whose life we are now contemplating, the 
veil that hides the future from common eyes seemed at 
times to be removed. There were moments when they 
were permitted to gaze on the splendor of the celestial 
world, and to read the bright scroll, whereon is written, 
with seraph fingers, the destiny of the race. 

They now began to feel conscious that their part of 
the great problem of earthly existence Avas well nigh 
solved, and that the time was fast approaching when 
the messengers of God would conduct them to their 
home beyond the stars. One day, as Clara sat reading 
to Henry in Milton's "Paradise Lost," two beautiful 
doves flew in at the open window near to where they 
were sitting, and after remaining there a moment, they 
flew out again, and disappeared. "Oh! Henry," said 
Clara, "how forcibly do these beautiful doves remind 
me of my dream !" Henry requested her to relate it, 
iv^d she commenced as follows : 

•'Yesterday, when father was reading to you and 
mother, I went into the library, that I might examine 
more attentively than I had been able to do before, the 
beautiful painting which has been presented to father. 
It is the representation of a mother and her two chil- 
dren. The one is a boy, and the other a girl ; the for- 
mer has a sword by his side, and the latter a bunch of 
flowers in her hand. The face of the mother beams 
with pride and satisfaction as she looks upon them; 
altogether, it is one of the finest specimens of art I have 
ever seen. I seated myself on the sofa before it, and 
examined each figure attentively for some minutes, 
when, being fatigued with my morning walk, I fell 
into a profound sleep. Music, such as I had never 
heard before, broke on my ear. It seemed as if the an- 


gels were celebrating the return of one of earth's prodi- 
gals ; when suddenly there appeared before me two 
beings of angelic mien ; one of them, a little in advance 
of the other, held in her hand two beautiful doves, 
which she placed in ray lap, saying, ' The circle of thy 
existence is well nigh completed.' And then the other 
angel repeated these words of Christ : ' In my Father's 
house are many mansions.' Then as suddenly they 
disappeared, taking with them the doves. The music 
ceased, and I awoke." 

In one short week from the time when Clara Wil- 
liams related this dream, her friends were assembled 
around her bed, for she was about to die. There 
beamed from her countenance an unearthly glory, as 
she said, addressmg Henry, "I know that thou wilt 
soon follow me." Then looking tenderly upon all, she 
said, " The messenger will soon be here, and I must 
go." At this instant, through the open window, which 
had been raised to admit the balmy air, laden with the 
perfume of the flowers, two beautiful doves flew in 
upon the casement, cooed once, and then flew away. 
A visible change came over the face of Clara ; a faint 
farewell trembled on her lips, and then her spirit took 
its flight to its home on high. They laid her in the 
grave, and placed upon her bosom an undeveloped 
flower, whose spirit had gone with the young mother 
to the paradise of God. 

For a short time after the event which we have just 
described, Henry moved around amid the scenes which 
had been consecrated by the presence of his Clara. He 
became day after day more abstracted. At length he 
complained of illness ; no physician knew the nature of 
his disease, no medicine could restore him to health. 
H3 laid down as if to sleep. It was the sleep of death. 


On the side of a gently-sloping hill, beneath the 
shade of an overhanging willow, are two graves, 
marked by a white stone, with two beautiful doves 
exquisitely chiselled on its face, beneath which are the 
names of Henry and Clara. 



I FOUND myself, at the close of one fine summer day, 
comfortably seated in the cars which were to take 
sundry other persons with myself, from Albany to 

I have said the day was fine, and so remarked nearly 
all my fellow-travellers, as they seated themselves and 
opened the windows to enjoy the fresh breeze that blew 
from the river. 

I always endeavor to take my place in the car, if I 
can, before the other passengers, that I may amuse 
myself by making observations, not with my eyes, but 
with my ears ; for it is in those hurried moments that 
always occur when the cars are about to leave, that 
many persons think themselves unobserved, and are, 
therefore, likely to say and do things which in a mea- 
sure reveal their true character. Thus, as I sat, I 
could hear in one direction a gentle voice bidding fare- 
well to kind friends, and in another the stentorian 
tones of a rough adventurer, giving directions concern- 
ing his baggage. 

Now a fashionable young gentleman stepped grace- 
fully in, taking his seat with as much studied politeness 
as if he was in a drawing-room ; he was soon followed 
by a timorous old lady, leading two children by the 
hand, and inquiring of every one, when the cars would 
go. It was amusing to see the efforts that each pas- 
senger made to become acquainted with his neighbor, 
without transgressing the rules of propriety. " Can you 
teH what time we shall reach Utica?" said one. " Do 


you know the time of day 7" asked another. "Will 
you have this seat by the window?" said a third, 
addressing a lady. 

A gentleman seated immediately in front of me 
happened to turn round, and perceiving that I was 
blind, addressed me: "Can you not see at all, sir?" 
On receiving my reply, he sighed, and said, "It is a 
great misfortune." By this time, the old lady, who 
happened to be sitting near us, reached her head over 
very nearly in the gentleman's face, and in a voice that 
reminded me very much of a gristmill, exclaimed, 
" You don't say he is blind?" " He says so, marm," 
was the cool reply. " Will you be kind enough to ask 
him if his name is Goodwin?" On being informed 
that it was not, she said I looked very much like a 
blind man in her neighborhood, and commenced to give 
us some account of his history, but was interrupted by 
the voice of the conductor, — " All aboard I all aboard ! " 
The paper boys ran in all directions, the bell rung, and 
we were off. 

Seated immediately behind me, were two men who 
seemed to be very well acquainted with each other, 
engaged in conversation on bank stock, the currency, 
and kindred subjects ; they were evidently very well 
satisfied with each other, and as I did not care to hear 
their conversation, I took my seat beside the gentleman 
in front of me ; with him upon one side, and the old 
lady on the other, I supposed I should be able to while 
away the evening in a pleasant tete-a-tete. I was first, 
however, compelled to answer sundry interrogatories, 
which, if they had all been answered in the spirit in 
which they were asked, would have made my compan- 
ions pretty well acquainted with my personal history ; 
but by evasion and indirect answers, I succeeded in sat- 


isfying them. Turning to the gentleman, I attempted to 
engage him in general conversation. We had made a few 
general remarks upon the western country audits pros- 
pects, when I felt the old lady's hand upon my shoul- 
der, and her terrible voice in my ear. "Did you say, 
sir, that you was a married man?" On being answered 
affirmatively, she actually arose from her seat in sur- 
prise, exclaiming, loud enough to be heard all over the 
car, " Well, I declare ! " Then putting her lips as close 
to my ear as possible, she said in as soft tones as she 
was capable of using, "Have you any babies?" On 
replying "I have one child," she seemed to be entirely 
overcome with astonishment. "Dear me! well, we 
really learn something every day ! Is it a boy or a 

By this time she had succeeded in drawing the atten- 
tion of two men who were seated some distance from 
her, who, prompted by curiosity, came toward her. 
Fearing that I was getting too great a notoriety, I per- 
suaded the gentleman by my side to take a seat with 
me in another part of the car ; and there we could dis- 
tinctly hear the old lady relating to those around her 
every particular which she had succeeded in extracting 
from me. She had not a single tooth in her head, 
which made her voice sound very singularly; beside 
this, her forms of expression were certainly very pecu- 
liar ; so that, in relating the few facts which she had 
been able to gather, she made them appear ridiculous 
in the extreme. At length some other person engaged 
in conversation with hdr, and I soon found she was as 
willing to relate her own history as she was anxious to 
inquire into the history of others; but as I did not feel 
particularly interested, I resumed the conversation with 
my companion on the western country. 


He was a very intelligent man ; he gave me many 
important statistics illustrating the growth of the 
western country, and related many amusing anecdotes 
of western men and manners. At length, for a few 
minutes, conversation seemed by common consent to 
cease. Just at that moment the cars stopped, and in 
an instant the old lady was on her feet, exclaiming, at 
the very top of her voice, " Are we off of the track? are 
we off of the track?" The conductor opened the door, 
and called for the passengers for Fort Plain. The old 
lady awoke her two children, and moved rapidly 
towards the door. As the conductor was handing her 
from the cars, I heard her say, " I really wish I knew 
more about that blind man." 

In a few moments we resumed our journey. We 
had taken on board several passengers, so that every 
seat in the car was now occupied. Some of the new 
comers were a turbulent set of fellows, who amused 
themselves in singing songs and in talking upon political 
affairs. Believing it to be utterly impossible to be able 
to get any sleep, my western friend and myself listened 
for some time to the amusing conversation of those 
around us. The necessity which every one was under 
for speaking aloud, enabled us to gratify our curiosity. 

The human heart always yearns for sympathy, and 
men will frequently unbosom themselves to each other, 
without the slightest reserve, to enjoy only the momen- 
tary satisfaction of a friendly interchange of thought 
and feeling. There are, we know, a few who seem to 
be wrapped up in themselves. They alwa^'s travel 
incognito; but they lose much, very much, by this 
exclusive selfishness. But our companions happened to 
be for the most part open-hearted, and rather loquacious. 
They related to each other incidents of tlieir lives which 


were calculated to make the time pass away pleasantly. 
My companion remarked to me that there was a man 
seated not far from us who had a very striking coun- 
tenance. " Suppose" said I, " we cultivate his acquaint- 
ance." " Agreed ! " he replied, and we moved towards 
him, when the following dialogue ensued: "I think, 
sir, I must have seen you before," said my western 
friend. "It is quite possible you have," was the cool 
reply of the stranger; "but I am sure this gentleman 
never did," turning towards me. "Perhaps," said I, 
(not liking this allusion very well,) "if I could, I 
should not wish to." A few good-natured remarks on 
both sides soon set us all right, and we entered upon a 
very pleasant conversation. 

The stranger informed us that his name was Tolman, 
and wished to know ours. I then, for the first time, 
learned the name of my western friend ; it was a famil- 
iar one, — Mr. P., a member of Congress from one of 
the Western States. 

Mr. Tolman related to us, in the most familiar man- 
ner, and without the slightest hesitation, the most 
prominent events of his life. "I was," said he, "born 
in the city of New York. My parents were poor ; I 
maintained myself, however, when very young, by 
acting in the capacity of newsboy. I had but little 
education ; I learned to read and write at the common 
schools, which are," said he with emphasis, "an orna- 
ment to our country. When I grew up to manhood, I 
was employed to collect news for the daily papers. At 
length," said he, with an expression of proud satisfac- 
tion altogether indescribable, and in a tone of voice 
which indicated that he was not deficient in self-esteem, 
" I received a substantial proof of the confidence of my 
fellow-citizens, by the appointment of constable, which 


office I have held for the last nine years." " I sup- 
pose," said I J " you are now in pursuit of some refugee 
from justice." "Yes," said he, "I have a little official 
business in this direction." The conductor now came 
along for our tickets ; he remarked to the constable that 
he managed that affair finely. "Yes," said he; "but 
the old woman has given us a great deal of trouble." 
" What," said I, " can it be that you have arrested that 
old lady who was with us in the cars a short time 
ago7" "Yes!" said he, "yes !" but I could get noth- 
ing more from him on the subject. 

The cars again stopped, and I was compelled reluc- 
tantly to part with my western friend. The rest of my 
journey passed with but little conversation. About 
twelve o'clock the next day, we reached Rochester. A 
friend read to me the following, from the evening 
papers, a few hours after my arrival : 

" Constable Tolman, of New York city, succeeded in 
arresting Mrs. Loring, who was concerned in the great 
forgery case. She will be tried at the next session of 
the court, which will be holden in the city of New 
York, in October next. When arrested, she had with 
her her two grandchildren, and was on a visit to her 
friends at Fort Plain." 

The reading of this only excited a passing observa- 
tion at the time ; but when, after a lapse of a short 
period, I returned to New York city, being invited by a 
friend to go with him to the court-house, to hear an 
unusually interesting trial, which was then going on, 
I found, to my surprise, that the person to be tried was 
the old lady whom I had met in the cars. When we 
entered, the indictment had just been read, and the 


clerk was putting his usual question to the prisoner, 
"Guilty, or not guilty?" Again that horrible voice 
sounded in my ears. 

I heard it but once more. It was on visiting the 
prison at JSingSing. 




Oh ! they that ne'er have seen can weep 
When the young and beautiful depart ; 

The tears they shed may give relief, 
And soothe awhile the aching heart. 

For oh ! to sympathy 't is given 

To cheer our sad and dreary life. 
And make this dark world fair as heaven, 

Where all is beautiful and bright. 

I shed, fair girl, a tear for thee, — 

The bitter tear of deep regret ; 
For he who ne'er may hope to see 

Has oft o'er suffering beauty wept. 

I weep for thee, for they are gone, 
Who once made glad thy happy home, 

To join the bright celestial throng 

Of those that dwell around the throne. 

But oft in dreams they '11 come to bless, 

And minister, dear girl, to thee, 
When thou in sleep shalt calmly rest, 

Or bend, in holy prayer, the knee. 

And soon thou too with them shalt dweL 

In the bright and better land afar, 
Whose beauty tongue can never tell,— 

Whose joy no grief can ever mar. 



There has recently been manifested in certain quar- 
ters a kind of dislike to the name by which our country 
is distinguished. It is said that the United States of 
America is not sufficiently expressive, and that there 
are besides other portions of the American continent 
bound together in a confederation similar to our own ] 
and it has therefore been thought that some name was re- 
quired which should at once distinguish our country from 
all others. Distinguished statesmen have been written 
to on the subject, and learned societies have given their 
opinion ; some have recommended the name of Wash- 
ington as the most appropriate ; others have proposed 
Hesperian, Alleghany, &c. ; but the people, who decide 
everything in this country, have refused to re-baptize 
their native land, and she will probably always be dis- 
tinguished by the time-honored name of United States 
of North America, 

There are, it seems to us, questions vastly more im- 
portant than that to which we have referred, and about 
which so much has been said and written, and to so 
little purpose. There will never probably be any seri- 
ous difficulty in understanding what portion of the 
world is meant to be designated by the name that has 
always distinguished our country ; but the questions 
transcending in importance all others are. Will she 
accomplish all those great objects to which she has 
pledged herself? Will the experiment, on which she 
has entered under such favorable auspices, be success- 
ful, or a miserable failure ? Will she realize the fond- 


est hopes of the patriot and philanthropist, or disappoint 
them forever ? In fine, will she have a glorious or an 
ignoble destiny? These are solemn and momentous 
questions, upon which we purpose to make a few re- 

Beyond all doubt, one of the most brilliant events of 
the eighteenth century was the American revolution. 
That a few isolated colonies, without possessing any 
adequate resources, should commence and carry on a 
war with the most powerful country of the civilized 
world, relying only on the valor of its citizens, and the 
justice of its cause ; and that they should finally suc- 
ceed in achieving their independence, was certainly 
well calculated to astonish mankind. For centuries pre- 
viously, the divine right of kings had been everywhere 
acknowledged ; and it was supposed that democratic 
ideas, which at different times had proved themselves so 
troublesome to the despots of Europe, were effectually 
crushed. The breaking out of the American revolu- 
tion, and the startling principles put forth in the Decla- 
ration of Independence, were regarded by the tyrants of 
the old world with astonishment and consternation ; 
while, on the other hand, it tended to revive and ani- 
mate the friends of liberty, who previously had so 
bravely but unsuccessfully struggled to maintain their 
rights against the encroachments of tyranny and usur- 
pation in the old world. 

Viewed simply in relation to its causes and effects, its 
means and results, the war which obtained for us a 
separate existence among the nations of the earth forms 
one of the most important events, and is, without doubt, 
the most remarkable achievement, of modern times. 

The progress of nations in civilization, and the de- 
velopment of principles on which it depends, is usually 


extremely slow ; often liable to be retarded by retro- 
grade movements, the result of causes which no wisdom 
can foresee, and no sagacity can prevent. This is the 
more striking in nations at the commencement of their 
existence, though it is more or less apparent at every 
stage of their advancement. This was the case with 
Egypt, and most of the eastern nations ; and the re- 
mark holds good when applied to most of the countries 
of modern Europe. There have, however, been some 
very remarkable exceptions. 

The progress of ancient Greece in civilization was 
wonderfully rapid, though subjected to great vicissi- 
tudes; such, for example, as the invasion of the Per- 
sians, intestine wars, &c, ; but her decline in civilization 
was almost as rapid as her advancement. 

Rome, too, made rapid strides from the time it was 
settled to the second Punic war ; it had a glorious ca- 
reer from that period to tlie reign of Augustus, when it 
began to decline. But most other nations have had a 
slower development. They have been longer in attain- 
ing that degree of civilization of which they were capa- 
ble ; and they have generally succeeded in maintaining 
it for a greater length of time than did Greece or Rome. 
Our own country, however, furnishes the only instance 
of modern times, 'vhose brilliant, rapid, and successful 
career even transcends that of Greece. It must not, 
however, be forgotten, that precocity in nations is 
equally as injurious in its tendency as in individuals. 
The different elements of the body politic require to be 
gradually developed and invigorated, as the nation 
passes from infancy to maturity, something in the same 
manner as the different parts of our corporeal organiza- 
tion are invigorated and strengthened in passing from 
childhood to manhood. It is very common for us to 


boast of our attainments in civilization and refinement, 
and there is certainly much in the brilliant career of 
our country thus far to make us proud. It may be 
safely said, that no nation ever did so much, in so short 
a period, to develop its resources, and to promote the 
happiness and welfare of its citizens ; still, it must be 
acknowledged that there is much in our boasted pro- 
gress that is superficial. 

An eminent French writer has justly remarked, that 
there are two ways by which we must measure the civ- 
ilization to which a nation has attained. First, by its 
efiects upon the intellectual and moral development of 
the individual man ; and, secondly, by the influence it 
has exerted upon the social condition of all its members. 

Now, if we apply these principles to the subject under 
consideration, — if we ask ourselves what has the United 
States done for man in his individual capacity, and for 
the social advancement of the race 7 we shall not have 
quite so much reason for self-gratulation as some super- 
ficial observers would be inclined to suppose. 

The efiect of the revolution on the American mind 
tended, imdoubtedly, at first, greatly to increase its ac- 
tivity, and to inspire the individual with exalted and 
even extravagant ideas of personal liberty. It was well 
for us and the world that those who were engaged in 
that ever-memorable struggle, and who, to some extent, 
controlled the destinies of the nation for some years 
after it had ceased, were, for the most part, men of pure 
and lofty principles, actuated not so much by the low 
ambition of filling a conspicuous station, as by the truly 
noble desire of promoting the welfare of their country, 
and the happiness of their race. 

We owe to the patriotism, moderation, and far- 
reaching sagacity of Washington, and his compeers, a 



debt of gratitude which we can never repay ; for at the 
most critical hour of our national existence, at a time 
when it was doubtful whether we had not freed our- 
selves from the despotism of England only to be sub- 
jected to the more revolting despotism of anarchy, or 
again to become the subjects of some foreign tyrant ; 
at that darkest, that most critical hour, when all that 
had been achieved was likely to be lost, they, the illus- 
trious fathers of the republic, stood firm and unmoved ; 
and all that we now possess, all the social and political 
blessings we enjoy, we owe to their valor, their wis- 
dom, and their unyielding integrity. 

In considering, as we propose to do, some of the insti- 
tutions which were the result of the American Revolution, 
affecting the social and political condition and destiny 
of our country, we shall endeavor to keep constantly 
before us the fact to which we have referred ; namely, 
that all the social privileges we enjoy, that flow from a 
well ordered government, that the political institutions 
which preeminently distinguish our country from all 
others, were secured by the untiring and indefatigable 
labors of those great and good men by whom they 
were formed and set in successful operation, and who 
stamped upon the works of their genius, to some extent 
at least, their own transcendent characters. 

The government of the United States, in many of its 
essential features, is original ; and at its commencement 
i^ was regarded as an anomaly. Its founders, paying a 
decent respect to the opinions and usages of former 
times, still felt called upon, by the peculiarities of the 
country and the wants of the people, to depart from 
some of the established maxims of legislation, and to 
form institutions which should secure the blessings, 
while at the same time they avoided the evils, to which 


almost every other system of government had been sub- 
jected ; and it may be safely said, that never were falli- 
ble men more successful. It has now been in operation 
more than half a century, subjected to vicissitudes 
which could not have been foreseen, and has always 
proved itself adequate to all the purposes for which it 
was designed. There are those, however, who think 
that they can see principles at work in our glorious 
institutions, which will eventually prove their destruc- 
tion. That, like everything formed by man, they are 
destined to undergo great changes, there cannot be a 
doubt; and that they contain elements that in some 
degree impair their beauty, and retard their healthy 
and beneficent action, may also be admitted ; but it is 
not, we think, too much to say, that thus far, notwith- 
standing the unexampled growth and expansion of the 
resources of the country, and the unparalleled increase 
of population, no country has ever been more wisely 
governed, and no people ever enjoyed for the same 
length of time so large an amount of national liberty, 
as the inhabitants of these United States. 

The principles of our government are so generally 
understood as to render it unnecessary to go into minute 
details. We may sometimes have occasion to refer to 
the operation of its different parts, and we shall act on 
the supposition that their nature is well understood. 

The world has never had an opportunity, before the 
existence of our government, of observing the workings 
of free institutions, nor of testing to so full an extent the 
efficacy of democratic principles ; for in Greece, Rome, 
and in the republics and free states which have existed 
at different periods, the democratic principle had always 
to contend, to a greater or less extent, with aristocracy, 
monarchy, theocracy, &c. ; and it is worthy of remark, 


that the democratic element has almost always been 
obliged to yield to one or the other of its antagonists, 
or to their combined influence. And not the least inter- 
esting portion of history, is that which records the 
earnest but too often ineffectual struggles of free princi- 
ples for ascendancy. 

At the formation of the American constitution, there 
were no other opposing ideas of government with which 
it had to contend. The long and sanguinary war 
Avhich preceded that event had completely annihilated 
all attachment to monarchy m the minds of the Amer- 
ican people. The only difficulty which was expe- 
rienced was of quite an opposite nature. They had 
become so thoroughly imbued with the most extrava- 
gant notions of liberty, that it was for a long time 
doubtful whether they would consent to that confedera- 
tion which the constitution proposed, and which seemed 
so necessary to secure to all the permanent enjoyment 
of their rights. 

If we would seek for the fact which more than any 
other explains the astonishing progress we have made 
in the cultivation of the arts and sciences, and above all 
in education, and in ameliorating the condition of the 
masses, we shall, I think, find that it consists in the vast 
superiority of a federal representative government over 
every other form that has ever existed. Its influence 
upon society is much more striking than upon the indi- 
vidual man. It can, I think, be safely assumed that the 
masses in this country are better provided for, that is to 
say, the milhons are better fed and clad, than the 
inhabitants of any other country in the civilized world. 
The government, without crippling the energies of 
the people by exorbitant taxation, possesses abundant 
resources to render itself eflfective at home, and respected 


abroad ; and by pursuing a wise policy, — by protecting 
alike agriculture, manufactures and commerce, — by 
extending to each department of industry its fostering 
care, without crippling any with burdensome enact- 
ments, — it has succeeded in securing to all an unexam- 
pled degree of prosperity. All that government can 
effect for the social well-being of the people is well 
nigh accomplished. It is, without doubt, able to effect 
more, by refraining to interfere with the various depart- 
ments of industry, by allowing the people full scope to 
develop their energies, than it could in any other way. 
The great difficulty with Prance, England, and the 
other European countries, is, that they are too much 

There are many who are disappointed with the 
operations of our institutions. It is complained that 
they have not accomplished the complete social regene- 
ration of the people. It is, perhaps, enough to say that 
the American government has done more to promote 
the welfare and prosperity of the millions that enjoy its 
protection than any other government could have done. 
It must ever be remembered that there are evils in 
society that no legislation can remove, — that can only 
be thoroughly eradicated by the education of each indi- 
vidual member. Nine tenths of the degradation that 
exists in this world is the result of ignorance ; till this 
be removed, it is vain to talk of any other means of 
social regeneration. 

In this country, the education of the people is left 
almost exclusively to the different states, and hence the 
striking difference that exists, and upon which foreigners 
have so often remarked, between the Eastern and the 
Middle, the Southern and the Western States. Massa- 
chusetts, New York and Pennsylvania, have done more 


for tlie cause of education than any of the other states 
of the Union. There is now, however, beginning to be 
manifested in every part of the United States a deep 
niterest in this important subject. The free school sys- 
tem of New England is beginning to be copied by 
many of the Western and Southern States. We hope 
vastly more from the free school system than from any 
other scheme for the improvement and advancement of 

There is one peculiarity of our institutions which 
seems well calculated to exert a beneficent influence. 
We refer to the fact that every citizen is eligible to any 
office in the national or state government. It cannot be 
denied but that this is a powerful stimulant, and greatly 
tends to encourage the pursuit of knowledge among the 
mass of the people. It has been objected to free 
governments, (and it is said that the objection is pecu- 
liarly applicable to ours,) that, although they exert a 
favorable influence upon the multitude, they do not 
favor intellectual and moral cultivation in the indi- 
vidual. It is affirmed that instances of great intellectual 
attainments and rare moral worth are less frequent 
under democratic governments than under monarchical 
forms. Comparisons are instituted which are thought 
to be in favor of the latter. That our distinguished 
public men for the last half century will compare well 
with those of England and France for the same period, 
will not, I think, be denied ; and that we have done 
our part in the investigation of the physical sciences 
and their application to the mechanic arts, must also be 

In literature, we have as yet done but little ; m fact, 
we may be said to have no national literature. The 
American mind, however, has not shown any want of 


depth and activity, and it is beginning to exhibit signs 
of originality. We have those among us who are 
beginning to lay the foundations of an American litera- 
ture that will one day be as rich and varied as that of 
any other country. 

Our distinguished men early enter public life ; poli- 
tics is more inviting than Parnassus. One of our greatest 
poets is the editor of a political newspaper. 

We have our universities and other institutions of 
learning, which abundantly prove that there is nothing 
in the nature of a repubUcan goA^ernment inimical to 
the pursuit of letters. It must also be remembered that 
we, as a nation, are yet in our infancy. Who can tell 
what we shall be when all our resources shall be fairly 
developed ? Who knows but in literature and the fine 
arts we shall yet surpass the ancient Greeks, as we 
have most modern nations, in conferring great social 
blessings and political privileges upon all 7 

We have thus briefly and imperfectly spoken of some 
of the effects of our government upon the social condi- 
tion of the people, and the intellectual and moral develop- 
ment of the individual. Much more might indeed be said, 
but we have already devoted more space to this part of 
our subject than we at first intended. 

To every American, the question must sometimes 
present itself. What is to be the fate of our institutions ? 
Are they to exist for centuries, conferring incalculable 
blessings upon millions yet to come, or is our country to 
share the fate of all previous republics? Is rational 
liberty to be surperseded by anarchy, and that in turn 
by despotism ? Certainly strange symptoms have man- 
ifested themselves for the last few years in the body 
politic. The enthusiasm enkindled by the fathers of the 
republic seems to have died away, and men now specu- 


late upon the bond that connects these states, together in 
one common sisterhood as they do upon the ordinary 
events of every-day hfe. The constitution has been 
frequently violated, and yet it produces little or no im- 
pression upon the public mind, or, at most, excites but a 
feeble remonstrance. 

We have inherited from our fathers the great boon of 
civil and religious liberty, and we are bound to transmit 
it unimpaired to posterity. It would be well for the 
revolutionists of our day to remember, that it is much 
easier to destroy a government already existing than it 
is to form a new one. That there are evils which have 
developed themselves in our institutions, no one can 
deny ; but the poorest expedient we have ever yet seen 
for eradicating them, is that of destroying the institu- 
tions themselves. 

He who burnt the temple of Diana at Ephesus, that 
he might have his name transmitted to posterity, has 
acquired at most but an unenviable notoriety; and, in 
like manner, that man, or party, who labor unceas- 
ingly to weaken the attachment of the American people 
to the union of the states, which is their sole political 
salvation, will merit the contempt of all coming time, 
although it is professed to be done in the sacred name 
of philanthropy. By the way, we like to see, in the 
"overflowing cup of philanthropy, a drop or two of 

There are those of the present day, who, in quite a 
different way from that to which we have referred, are 
laboring to accomplish the same result, though perhaps 
they deceive themselves with the belief that they are 
not. It is quite common now to talk of our destiny as 
a nation ; of the obligations we are under to extend our 
institutions over the whole continent, regardless of ter- 


ritorial boundaries and the rights of nations. The in- 
famous war in which we are now engaged is the prac- 
tical carrying out of this atrocious principle ; what the 
English have done in India, and the French in Algiers, 
we are doing in Mexico. We hope that the people of 
these United States will soon recover their wonted good 
sense, and correct the abuses of government that have 
for the last few years disgraced the republic. We 
ought indeed to extend our free institutions, but not by 
despoiling weaker nations of their territory, and thus 
imitating the example of the worst of tyrants. No ! we 
ought rather to pursue the humane and magnanimous 
policy that characterized the administrations of Wash- 
ington, Adams, and Jefferson. It ought to be our aim 
to exhibit to the world a model republic, whose govern- 
ment seeks for nothing so much as the happiness and 
welfare of its citizens, and to live in peace with all the 
world. Then would other nations imitate our exam- 
ple, and copy our institutions. As for territory, we 
have enough of it already. The public lands have 
always been a bone of contention between the states. 
The disposition which a portion of the people of this 
country have recently manifested to annex foreign ter- 
ritory to this Union, under the pretence of enlarging the 
area of freedom, proceeds from that insane ambition 
which has proved so fatal to other republics. It was 
this that destroyed Rome. That republic, in extending 
its dominion, weakened itself by every new acquisition, 
until at length the northern barbarians trampled its 
eagles in the dust. If we pursue the same course, the 
same inevitable result will follow. We may extend our 
territory to the Isthmus of Darien, but then the republic 
must die ; then we shall have a Caesar to lead our ar- 
mies, and even a Brutus camiot save the country. 


However, we are far from anticipating such a result. 
The American people are too intelligent not to heed the 
lessons of experience. They may sometimes be guilty 
of excesses, or rather those may to whom they delegate 
their power for a season ; but the time will come when 
they will administer the corrective to the abuses of 
which we have been speaking. 

We are her natural friends, and ought not therefore to 
assume a hostile attitude towards Mexico ; for, in the 
language of one of our most eminent statesmen, "Our 
fate is strangely linked with hers." 

There are many other thoughts which suggest them- 
selves, but we must draw this article to a close. We 
like not to dwell upon the evils that beset our free insti- 
tutions, much less to contemplate the calamity that 
threatens their overthrow. America has a glorious 
mission to fulfil, — not by arms, not by conquest, — but 
by furnishing to the world, for centuries to come, the 
spectacle of a great republic, whose citizens live in the 
peaceful enjoyment of their natural and inalienable 
rights, and whose first law is eternal justice. 



" Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three ; but the greatest of these i* 

Of all the virtues that adorn the character, none is 
more needed among men than the one inculcated in 
these divine words of St. Paul. 

If we look around us, we shall find, in the condition 
of our fellow-men, and in the relations which we sus- 
tain to each other, circumstances that constantly call 
for the exercise of charity. Suffering, that forms so 
large a part of our present existence, to which so many 
are subjected, and from which none are entirely ex- 
empt, requires the constant exercise of good-will and 
charity among men. 

The great truth of the universal brotherhood of the 
race, announced by the Saviour of the world, is not yet 
fully appreciated; it is not, therefore, strange, that the 
great duty it enforces should not yet be sufficiently un- 
derstood. It was charity which imparted so deep a 
beauty, such a bright refulgence, to his life, whom we 
all reverence as the perfect pattern of humanity, and it 
is this which has shone forth most conspicuously in the 
lives of all good men. We reverence its manifestations 
in Fenelon, Howard, Wilberforce, and Channing. "We 
have somewhere read that when Shelley listened to the 
great cathedral organ in Holland, he sighed, because 
FAITH, and NOT CHARITY, was made the substance of uni- 
versal religion. 

Nothing tends so much as charity to expand the 
heart, and free it from those narrow prejudices wliich 


are always its opposite. The darkest page of history- 
is that on which is recorded the mournful effects of big- 
otry and intolerance. 

Physical destitution and suffering, though existing to 
an appalling extent in the world, is not so much to be 
lamented as the want of that charity, the exercise of 
which would tend to annihilate it. Even in its most 
common forms, charity is as yet but imperfectly under- 
stood and poorly practised. Nothing is more likely to 
be counterfeited among men than this virtue ; but the 
frequency of the counterfeit only serves to prove the ex- 
cellency of the reality. What is it that imparts to humble 
life its dearest attractions ? Is it not its sweet, unosten- 
tatious charities, made more admirable because they seek 
not the world's applause? How many darkened minds 
have been sustained by its blessed light ! How many 
desponding souls have been revived and nerved to re- 
newed exertions by its life-giving power ! How many 
wretched, degraded human beings have been reclaimed 
by its persuasive eloquence ! 

It is not the great events of life that are most worthy 
of our admiration ; it is those daily nameless acts, that 
flow from the deep compassion of the heart, and form 
the silken cord that binds us to each other. 

The most grateful incense that earth can offer heaven 
is the benefactions of the humble, that gush forth from 
a heart distiUing joy and gladness along the pathway 
of the friendless and the needy, as the murmuring rill 
on the hill-side refreshes the weary traveller. He is 
most favored who knows, by sweet experience, " that it 
is more blessed to give than to receive." 

There are some duties which, from their very nature, 
are limited, being obligato-ry only on individuals, or par- 
ticular classes ; but the requirements of benevolence are 


universal. Everywhere is man, to some extent, depen- 
dent on his fellow-man. No one, however favored, can 
free himself entirely from those complicated ties that 
bind him to society and to his kind. Nor can he right- 
fully refrain from the observance of those duties which 
are their legitimate results, and follow each other as 
certainly as effects follow causes. It is common to say 
that the rich should be benevolent to the poor ; that "he 
who hath should give to him who hath not;" but there 
is a sense in which all may be said to be poor. The 
Creator, for the wisest purposes, has subjected all his 
creatures to a state of mutual dependence. There is no 
arrangement of life that so strikingly manifests his wis- 
dom and goodness. 

The uncertainty in which the future is enshrouded, 
the utter impossibility of any man's seeing what are the 
vicissitudes to which he may be subjected, is eminently 
calculated |o impress upon the mind a deep sense of 
dependence and relationship. It is upon this fact of our 
constitution that society is mainly based. 

There is, in the breast of man, a- consciousness of 
sympathetic affinity, or an attraction of aggregation, 
which prompts him to seek for happiness in the society 
of his fellow-men. It is this which prevents him from 
becoming a purely selfish being. There is an intimate 
and beautiful connection between our social and our 
moral and religious nature ; to some extent, at least, the 
dex 3lopment of the latter is dependent on the cultiva- 
tion of the former. Nothing is so unfavorable to virtue 
and piety as stoicism and asceticism. Those who have 
manifested most conspicuously in their lives lo\re to 
God and all mankind, who have earned the appellation 
of philanthropist, and gained for themselves immortal 
renown, have not been recluses, but, on the contrary, 


have mingled much in society; the busy world, with 
its turmoil and strife, was the chosen theatre of their 
labors. Say what you will of the selfishness of man- 
kind, there is nothing which so readily wins their ap- 
plause as disinterested benevolence. ^ No one is held by 
the multitude in such high veneration as he who, by 
his disinterested devotion, has proved himself the friend 
and benefactor of his race. 

There is nothing so irresistibly attractive, nothing 
that appeals so directly to our best and noblest feelings, 
as unpretending goodness, unostentatious charity ; and 
the world will one day learn that it is the most effective 
agent that can ever be employed to bring back to virtue 
the fallen and degraded. 

Charity, to be effective, must be spontaneous. The 
welfare of others must be its aim and its end. It con- 
sists not so much in the performance of an act of kind- 
ness, as in the motive by which it was prompted, and 
the manner in which it is bestowed. It has become 
quite fashionable, in these days, to do good through the 
medium of corporations and committees. Benevolent 
societies, as they are called, have been multiplied to an 
almost indefinite extent. It seems to us that all the 
blessings which flow from the exercise of charity, that 
benefit both the giver and the recipient, are lost when 
any of these agencies are employed. 

Charitable corporations can, at most, confer but a 
DOUBTFUL good; they not unfrequently furnish to the 
selfish and the heartless facilities for the gratification of 
their pride, and thus to oppress those whom they were 
designed to bless. It often happens that societies for 
aiding the poor are composed of those who know noth- 
ing of the effects of poverty, and who never confer a 
trifling good without exacting in return more than its 


equivalent in a degrading servility; and, while they 
render temporary physical relief, not unfrequently out- 
rage that delicate sensitiveness more commonly found 
among the virtuous poor than the rich. 

It is thought to be contrary to sound principles of 
political economy to encourage alms-giving. The 
wealthy, without doubt, in most cases, meaning well, 
prefer to employ agents to search out the poor and the 
suffering, to afford them relief, and thus to free them- 
selves from all further responsibility. No one can have 
observed the operation of this system, especially in our 
larger cities, without having become convinced of its 
utter inadequacy. It really tends to increase the evil it 
was designed to mitigate. Besides, there is a distinc- 
tion among the poor which ought never to be over- 
looked. The benevolent societies of which we have 
spoken act too often upon the presumption that poverty 
and crime are necessary concomitants. Their benefac- 
tions are almost always bestowed in a manner which 
seems to reflect upon the virtue and purity of those who 
are the objects of their bounty. There are many in 
every community condemned to indigent circumstances 
by causes altogether beyond their control. They never 
solicit aid of others so long as they can obtain a bare 
subsistence by their own exertions; and often, very 
often, they drag out a miserable existence, and even die, 
for the want of the common necessaries of life, rather 
than subject themselves to the humiliation to which our 
organized charitable associations would subject them. 
Now this is wrong, all wrong. If there be any class 
of human beings entitled to the sympathy and compas- 
sion of their more fortunate fellow-men, it is those who, 
in the midst of want and privation, are yet able to 
maintain a life of unsullied purity and virtue ; for it is 


from them that the world has received its noblest bene- 

There is no necessity for all that complicated ma- 
chinery by which the wealthy, in many instances, 
convey relief to the poor. Charity, to be effective, to 
benefit both the giver and the receiver, must be direct 
and personal. The obligation under which God has 
placed every man, to do good according to his ability, 
cannot be shifted off upon an irresponsible corporation. 
Nor can the excuses, which are sometimes made, avail 
anything. Every man, who has the means of doing 
good, can always find an opportunity. The wealthy 
are surely not so engrossed in their pursuits that they 
cannot find an hour or a day to perform those duties, 
which should testify alike their sympathy for the un- 
fortunate, and their gratitude to the Giver of all good. 
If this were done, if the rich would oftener visit the 
abodes of poverty themselves, and, with their own 
hands, bestow that relief which the necessities of the 
poor require, and which is now too often intrusted to 
the bungling management of a pseudo-benevolent soci- 
ety, they would mitigate one evil without creating 
another of greater magnitude, and the expressions of 
gratitude that would then tremble on the lip, and beam 
from the eye, would impart a deeper joy and higher 
satisfaction than wealth can ever give. 

The remarks we have made apply strictly to those 
societies whose sole object is to improve the physical 
condition of the poor. We do not mean to include those 
associations, or institutions, that have a higher purpose, 
— that of educating the ignorant and degraded; yet 
there can be no doubt that even these are liable to 
abuse. There is a tendency in all large establishments 
of this kind,— perhaps it is unavoidable, — to overlook the 


primary object for which they were created. ITie 
individual is forgotten in the anxiety to benefit the 
class, and often both are overlooked in the earnest 
efforts to build up a magnificent institution to transmit 
to posterity the names of its wealthy patrons. It seems 
to be an invariable result, we might almost say an 
inevitable law, that men, when associated for any 
common object, forget that they have individual respon- 
sibilities, from which no combination, however popular, 
can relieve them. It is a trite, and, to a lamentable 
extent, a true adage, that " Corporations have no 

I have often been surprised to observe with what 
readiness many persons, when called upon to perform a 
duty in their individual capacity, and which required 
more disinterestedness than they really possessed, would 
evade the obligation by referring it to this or that benev- 
olent society, to which they belonged. They may in this 
way sometimes deceive their fellow-man, but they cannot 
elude the scrutiny of that All-seeing Eye to Avhom the 
secrets of all hearts are known, and who has declared 
that our duty is to "visit the fatherless and the widows 
in their afflictions, and to keep ourselves mispotted 
from the world." 

We have thus far spoken of charity in its most com- 
mon significations, and in a limited sense of the term ; 
charity, which consists in merely doing good one to 
another, and which the circumstances in which we are 
placed, and the relations which we sustain to those 
around us, would seem to enforce ; but the words we 
have placed at the head of this article refer to some- 
thing higher, a loftier virtue, a more benign charity. 

There is nothing which mankind has manifested so 
much, in every age, as the spirit of intolerance. It has 


darkened and defiled religion, corrupted the best and 
noblest of men, and embittered every department of life. 
It is against this spirit, in all its manifestations, that 
Christianity hurls its most terrible denunciations. It is 
the cultivation of its opposite it everyAvhere enjoins. 
It declares that love is the basis of all our relations to 
each other and to the race, and that God himself is love. 
Bigotry and intolerance have done more to degrade 
man, and to darken the earth with the most revolting 
crimes, than the combined influence of all other causes. 
They have devised every conceivable species of torture. 
The rack, the flames, the gibbet, have all been made to 
minister to their insatiate and uncontrollable tyranny. 
What a mournful record of its dark and bloody deeds 
does the history of the world contain ! The great and 
the good, the innocent and the pure, have been its vic- 
tims. Under one form or another, in every age, it has 
established its terrible dominion over the intellect and 
consciences of men. It has perpetrated its atrocities 
sometimes in the name of religion, but often associating 
itself with the most unblushing infidelity ; for the one 
it has established the inquisition, and for the other the 
guillotine. Everywhere, under all circumstances, it has 
been man's most unrelenting foe. Opposed to it, but 
with altogether different means, Christianity is striving 
to establish upon the earth the dominion of peace and 
love, and to diffuse into the hearts of men the spirit of 
that charity " that beareth all things, believeth all 
things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." 

It is common to speak of bigotry as existing in other 
times ; but if we look more closely, we shall find it as 
active now as ever, though in a somewhat modified 
form. It has its origin in selfishness and ignorance, 
and it therefore cannot be annihilated until man shall 


everywhere become enlightened and imbued with the 
spirit of that divine charity which we have seen is 
inculcated by our holy religion. 

There are many bright and glorious examples of the 
influence of charity upon the heart and life ; they form 
the green spots, the beautiful oases, of this world's 
history ; they remind us of what man once was, and of 
what he may become ; the record of their actions, gath- 
ering increased refulgence, shall endure forever ; but for 
bigotry and intolerance there is no immortality. The 
time we trust is coming when their bloody footprints 
will be obliterated from the earth, and the angel of love 
will take up its abode in every heart. Then shall " the 
waste places of the earth be glad, and the wilderness 
and the solitary places shall bloom and blossom as the 



At the close of a cold winter's day in the year 1840, 
an old man might have been seen slowly wending his 
way along the turnpike road, a few miles from the old 
to\vn of Newburyport. His manly figure was slightly 
bent, but it was impossible for the observer to discern 
whether it was by age, or in consequence of two trunks 
which were fastened upon each end of a leather strap, 
which was thrown over his shoulders so as to bring 
them upon either side. In one hand he carried a staff, 
and it was easy to perceive, from the manner in which 
he made use of it, that it formed the only means by 
which he was enabled to feel his way along with any 
degree of certainty ; for at a glance you could have told 
he was a blind man. 

Although it was snowing fast, yet he made no effort 
to increase his pace. Occasionally, a half audible 
expression would escape his lips, as if his mind was 
engrossed with some all-absorbing subject of contem- 
plation ; or it may have been he was mentally congrat- 
ulating himself that he was so near the place where he 
was sure he could find refreshment and repose, after 
the fatigues of the day. But once only did he seem to 
notice the storm. Stopping for a moment, he placed 
his trunks upon the ground, buttoned his great-coat up 
to his chin, and then in the same quiet manner walked 
on. Occasionally he would extend his staff to recog- 
nize some familiar object which had served him in 
former days as a landmark. As he did so, a smile of 
satisfaction would light up his countenance, and an 


expression of joy would fall from his lips, for he knew 
that theij would guide him right; they had never 
deceived him. 

Many a reminiscence of other days did these familiar 
objects awaken in the mind of the blind old man. 
Here was the rock upon which he had sat and whiled 
away many an hour in his childhood. A little further 
on is the tree with which is associated some terrible 
memories, for as he strikes it with his cane, he seems to 
shudder; but slowly he moves on, swinging his staff to 
the right and the left, pensively musing upon the asso- 
ciations connected with each object with which it is 
brought in contact. The storm increases as he nears 
the town, but it moves him not. Perhaps there is some 
strange affinity between the old man's thoughts and 
the troubled elements. It may be that his spirit is 
brooding over the wrongs that he has received from the 
heartless world, — of the injustice of those who should 
have blessed him; but it is impossible to divine his 
reflections, as, with downcast head, he cautiously 
gropes his way along, till at length reaching the entrance 
of the town, he pauses, — and setting his trunks upon 
the ground, he feels around with his cane as if in search 
of some object; at length he exclaims, "It is gone! 
All is new and strange ! Twenty years ago, upon the 
spot where I now stand, was the house in which I was 
born ; but improvements have swept it away, as fate 
has nearly all its wretched inmates ; but it is late, and 
I must be moving on. I wonder if they will recollect 
me;" and quickening his pace, he soon reached the 
centre of the town. Stopping in front of a large old- 
fashioned edifice, he began, as he was wont, to make 
an examination of the premises with his cane, this 
being his only means of ascertaining his precise where- 


abouts. Satisfied at length that he was right, he 
ascended the steps ; but before we admit him, we will 
enter ourselves and describe its inmates. 

At the same hour in which we first introduced our 
hero to the reader, the occupants of the mansion to 
which we have conducted him were quietly seated in 
their parlor before a comfortable fire, in the enjoyment 
of a domestic tete-a-tete, each one inwardly thanking 
fortune that the inclemency of the weather would save 
them from the annoyance of visitors. It was a cheerful 
sight which this happy group presented, as, seated 
around a centre-table, they listened to each other's con- 
versation, laughed at some playful remark, or occa- 
sionally enlivened the scene with a pleasant song. 

Mr. Talmadge, the father of the family, or, as he 
was commonly called. Captain Talmadge, was by pro- 
fession a shipmaster. He had made several very suc- 
cessful voyages, and a few days before the commence- 
ment of our story, he had returned from a long voyage 
to the East Indies. In person, he was a little above 
the ordinary size. His face was a true index to his 
heart. The flashes of his large dark eyes denoted the 
undaunted energy of his soul, and his high expanded 
brow indicated an active and a vigorous intellect. He 
had moved much in good society, so that he united with 
the frankness of a sailor the accomplished manners of 
a gentleman. We need only add that he was a kind 
father and a generous friend. He purchased, for the 
sake of his wife, a residence in the neighborhood of her 
former home. There were two places on earth where 
one might be sure to find him, — in the bosom of his 
family, or on the quarter deck of his noble ship. 

He had early connected himself in marriage with a 
highly respectable, though not very wealthy, family of 


his native town. He loved Julia French, as he himself 
expressed it, "for her beauty, intelligence and virtue;" 
and he would have made her his wife, if she had been 
the poorest girl in the land. Amply did she repay his 
love with a life of beautiful devotion. 

Twenty years of their married life had passed away, 
and they were the happy parents of three devoted chil- 
dren. The oldest had wisely chosen the profession of 
his father; and at this time, he had just commenced 
his career as a mariner, having been one voyage as a 
second officer in his father's ship. The two youngest 
were girls, one sixteen and the other fourteen years of 
age. These were the persons that composed the happy 
group that on that stormy night assembled around the 
domestic fireside, to enjoy that interchange of thought 
and feeling which constitutes one of the chief attrac- 
tions of home. 

The two girls entertained their brother and their 
parents with their first attempts at drawing; among 
their sketches was the likeness of a little blind boy, 
whom they had lately met at school, and whose misfor- 
tune at once awakened their sympathies. Their inter- 
est in him was heightened because their mother had 
told them that they once had a relative who was blind. 
"Here," said Julia, the youngest sister, to her mother, 
holding up the sketch, " is the face of the poor sightless 
boy." "You told us, mother," said the other sister, 
"that you would sometime tell us about our uncle 
who was deprived of his sight." " Ellen," replied the 
mother, (for this was the name of the eldest daughter.) 
" I ought to have fulfilled my promise before ; but I 
never think of my poor brother without recalling to 
mind the memory of many things which I would were 
buried in oblivion : still, as I have excited your curiosity, 


it is right that I should gratify it ; if you feel disposed 
to listen to me, I will do so now." The children 
thanked their mother, and she proceeded : 

"My oldest brother was some ten years older than 
myself. He was always remarkably fond of his studies ; 
his eyes being weak, prevented him from gratifying his 
love of knowledge to a very great extent. When about 
sixteen years old, he was obliged, in consequence of 
the weakness of his eyes, to leave school. To mother, 
who had but one fault, that of being too fond of her 
children, this was a great disappointment ; and as day 
by day his eyes grew worse, fearing that blindness 
would ensue, she tried every remedy which affection 
could prompt or ingenuity suggest 

" It happened that about this time a travelling doctor 
came along, v/ho professed to have great skill in the 
treatment of th-e eye. Mother procured of him a 
powder, and contrary to the wishes of all the family, 
applied it to his eyes. I shall never forget that night I 
As soon as the powder was blown into his eye, he com- 
plained of intense pain, and in a few hours his sight 
was entirely destroyed. 

" I cannot describe to you the effect it had upon my 
mother. It unfitted her for all the duties of life ; the 
thought that she had been instrumental in accomplish- 
ing that which she would have made any sacrifice to 
prevent, was overwhelming. Her misery was deepened 
by the reflection that she had applied the nostrum con- 
trary to the earnest protestations of all the family. It 
was in vain that we attempted to console her. It preyed 
upon her until it completely destroyed the tone of her 
mind. For months she was confined to her chamber ; 
the terrible idea had taken possession of her mind, that 
what she had done could only be atoned for with her hfe. 


and with her own hands she made several ineffectual 
attempts to terminate her existence, which at last she 
succeeded in accomphshing. One Sabbath mornmg, 
while the family were preparing for church, she left the 
house unobserved, and had probably been absent an 
hour before her escape was discovered. Search was 
made in every part of the neighborhood. At length 
some one found her body suspended from a large tree, 
just outside of the town, and upon a road which at that 
time was not much frequented. 

"I cannot describe to you the effect produced by this 
afflictive and terrible event. My mother was beloved, 
not only by the circle of her own relatives, but by many 
others to whom she had been a kind and generous 
friend, and to whom her death was a sad bereavement. 
As for poor James, he had not only to mourn the want 
of sight, but the loss of her whose sympathy was alone 
adequate to alleviate his misfortune. As he advanced 
in life, we did all we could, by reading aloud, to cheer 
his dark and lonely hours. You have heard me speak 
of Amelia Burton ; she was about the age of James, 
was a constant visitor in onr family, and for hours at a 
time she would read, sing, and converse with him ; and 
an attachment, which was the growth of years, and 
which, I am sure, was sincere on his part, grew out of 
this friendship. 

" When, at length, James had passed his minority, 
father established him in business. He kept a sort of 
miscellaneous store, which business, by the help of an 
. assistant who could see, he was enabled to carry on. 
He could himself sell books, and various other articles, 
and in this way was competent to maintain himself. 
His intimacy with Amelia still continued. Her father, 
however, fearing it would result in marriage, instructed 


her to receive no more of his attentions. James solic- 
ited her hand in a formal manner, and was promptly- 
rejected. In a year afterward, Amelia Burton became 
the wife of a merchant's clerk, and removed to Salem, 
his place of business. He proved to be a dissipated 
man and a gambler. He died in a few years, leav- 
ing Amelia with a family of children to support by her 
own exertions. What she would have done, no one 
could tdl, but for the timely assistance of a mysterious 
friend, who, at regular intervals, remitted to her money, 
with which, together with her own earnings, she was 
enabled to support and educate her children. 

"As soon as Amelia was married, James sold out his 
store, packed two trunks with goods, and, swinging them 
to his back, decided to spend the rest of his days as a 
pedler. We laughed at the absurd idea of a blind man 
following this avocation, and endeavored to dissuade 
him from his purpo^ by dwelling upon the numerous 
difficulties with which he would have to contend ; but 
we could not move him ; and one morning, bidding us all 
good-bye, saying that he was going to seek his fortune, 
and that it would be many years before we should see 
him again, he left us. We hoped that he would repent of 
his undertaking, and return in a few weeks ; but month 
after month, and even year after year, passed away, 
and he came not. Occasionally we heard from him. 
Some of our friends once met with him in the city of New 
York, and the last time we heard of him he was pursu- 
ing his business in Canada. He at first had a little boy 
to lead him about, but after a while he travelled alone. 
Where he now is, or whether he yet lives, I cannot tell." 
' At this instant the family were startled by a loud 
knock at the door. 

"Who is that, at this late hour?" said Capt. Tal- 


madge. ''Fred, my boy, I expect some disaster has 
happened to our ship, and we may have to go aboard 

Taking a Hght, he hastened at once to the door. On 
opening it, he could just discover an ol4 man standmg 
before him, covered with snow, when liis light was ex- 

"Is this," said the stranger, "the residence of Capt. 
Talmadge 7" making a slight movement, as if he would 
like to be permitted to enter. 

"It is," replied the captain; "and if you will walk 
in, we will become better acquainted. Where do you 
hail from, this stormy night, my friend?" 

"I have walked," replied the visitor, "all the way 
from Salem since morning. I hope now, however, that 
I have found a comfortable harbor." 

His appearance was well calculated to excite a deep 
interest. He was dressed in a thick overcoat, which 
was well fitted to protect him from the inclemency of 
the weather. He wore upon his head a hat, which was 
drawn over his face so as nearly to conceal his features. 
As soon as he was admitted, he carefully placed in one 
corner of the hall his two trunks, in a manner which 
seemed to say that he was glad to be relieved of the 
burden. Though somewhat surprised that a stranger 
should, at that late hour, claim his hospitality, Capt. 
Talmadge welcomed the new-comer, and, with great 
kindness of manner, invited him into the parlor. On 
entering, the old man lifted his hat from his head, and 
revealed a countenance well calculated to excite pity 
and respect. He appeared to be about sixty years old. 
In the lineaments of his face there was seen more of the 
impress of care and sorrow than of time. His lips were 
slightly compressed, and his brow was knit, as if in the 


effort to restrain the struggling emotions of his heart. 
There was in his whole manner that which seemed to 
say that he knew more than he cared to tell ; and this 
mysterious air, which, in a younger person, would have 
excited suspicion, was such as to obtain for him a deep 
interest, and sincere regard. Mrs. Talmadge and her 
daughters looked long and earnestly at the stranger, for 
his eyes were covered with a pair of green goggles, 
which at once attracted their attention. They had also 
noticed an embarrassed and somewhat awkward man- 
ner with which he had seated himself in the chair 
which had been placed for him by the fire. Julia whis- 
pered to her mother that she thought the stranger was 
blind. Impelled by a sudden presentiment, Mrs. Tal- 
madge walked up to him — looked him for a moment 
full in the face — and then exclaimed, "Can it be possi- 
ble ! It is my brother James ! " 

The whole family was electrified, and the expressive 
countenance of the old man was lighted up with joy 
and satisfaction. " I did not know," he said, "that you 
would recognize me ; twenty years have wrought such 
sad changes. I had supposed I was quite forgotten." 

" Forgotten ! " exclaimed Mrs Talmadge ; " we were 
talking about you this very evening. Just as you 
knocked at the door, I was saying to the girls that I 
could not tell whether you yet lived, it is so long since 
we have heard from you." 

We pass over the many inquiries which the brother 
and sister put to each other, and which embraced a pe- 
riod of more than thirty years, and relating to those 
who now lived only in memory. It was late that night 
before the family retired. The girls exacted from their 
uncle a promise that he would relate to them the varied 
incidents of his precarious life. 


The next evening, at an earlier hour than usual, the 
family of Capt. Talmadge assembled in their parlor. 
Anxious expectation was written on every countenance. 
The few facts which they had gleaned from their uncle 
during the day, together with that which Mrs. Tal- 
madge had related the evening previous, had invested 
him with a kind of romance ; they therefore anticipated 
the recital of the rest of his story with a de^ee of plea- 
sure and delight, in which all equally participated. 

As soon as they were seated, the blind pedler com- 
menced relating his adventures, by observing that he 
was glad that his sister had spared him the painful ne- 
cessity of detailing the events connected with his early 

"When a young man, I had conceived the idea that, 
though deprived of sight, I might, nevertheless, obtain 
a competency by my own exertions, and, at the same 
time, learn much of the world. I accordingly deter- 
mined to travel in different parts of our country, with a 
hope of obtaining a fortune, and a more intimate knowl- 
edge of men and things. Accordingly, with trunks 
well packed with such articles as I thought would find 
a ready sale, and with a few dollars in my pocket, I 
commenced my journey. It was not without regret 
that I bade adieu to my home, not knowing when I 
should again revisit it ; nor was it without a sigh and 
a tear that I parted with those whose sympathy had 
cheered and gladdened my boyhood, and whose voices 
had thus far been as the sunlight of my existence. One, 
who might have detained me by the magic tones of her 
gentle voice, in obedience to the will of her proud 
father, had spurned all I had to offer, — the affeciiojis 
of a heart uncorrupted by the world; — and I left my 
home, and the associations of youth, with a sad but res- 


olute determination never to return until I should have 
obtained that which, in the present age, is so eagerly- 
sought for hy all, and with which I could alone make 
the world forget that / was blind. Yet I should do in- 
justice to myself, if I did not tell you that there were 
other than selfish motives that influenced my decision. 

" I have already remarked, that I hoped to obtain by 
travelling a more intimate knowledge of the world, and 
I would add, that I expected to find, in the varied and 
changeful life I had chosen, a solace for the grief which 
the memory of the past must awaken, and which would 
ever be associated with home. I obtained a small boy 
as a guide, and made my debut as a pedler in a neigh- 
boring town. My success, for the first few days, was 
much greater than I anticipated. Almost every one I 
met made a purchase, and in a few weeks I succeeded 
in disposing of nearly all my goods, which enabled me 
to purchase a much larger stock, and to continue my 
business. In this way, I visited the principal places in 
New England. Prompted by sympathy for my misfor- 
tune, but more frequently by that curiosity which forms 
the chief characteristic of vulgar minds, many with 
whom I was brought in daily contact sought to pry 
into my personal history, and often, to effect the sale of 
a small article, I was compelled to answer many pain- 
ful questions, that recalled many things which I v/ould 
fain have forgotten ; and sometimes, too, I was obliged 
to listen to the contemptuous sneer, or the affected ex- 
pressions of pity, from those who could only see in my 
misfortune a subject for heartless speculation. Yet, not 
unfrequently did I meet with those who manifested by 
many a kindly act that they sincerely commiserated 
my situation. In New England, as well as in many 
other parts cf the country which I have visited, I have 


had the good fortune to meet with those who were ca- 
pable of appreciating my earnest efforts to do something 
for myself Yet for the most part I have found but little 
true sympathy or permanent friendship ; but perhaps I 
have received all I had a right to expect. My life, for 
the last twenty years, has been more uniform than 
would at first be supposed. It might nearly all be in- 
cluded in a description of a single day. 

" Going from door to door, and from village to village, 
exposed to the heat of summer and to the cold of win- 
ter, — then to return to my lodgings at night, alone to 
reflect upon the strange destiny to which I was con- 
signed; — this has constituted almost my only employ- 
ment. There have, however, been a few passages in riiy 
existence, which have served to change the monotony of 
every-day life. A few years after I left home, I heard 
of Amelia Burton, of the death of her wretched husband, 
and of her destitute situation ; and from that time I set 
apart a portion of my limited income, which I managed to 
send to her in such a manner as to prevent her knowing 
from whom it came ; and, in moments of my deepest 
despondency, the reflection that I was contributing to 
the happiness of another's existence never failed to 
cheer and gladden my heart. I have often had occa- 
sion, while travelling from place to place, to observe and 
analyze the characters of those to whom my situation 
and my somewhat peculiar life introduced me ; and I 
have not unfrequently been amused with the opportu- 
nities which they have afforded me of noticing their 
foibles and mistakes. Many seeing persons seem to 
suppose that a blind man can know but a little of that 
which is going on around him ; accordingly, when he 
is present, they do not judge it necessary to make use 
of those disguises which serve to veil their true thoughts 


and feelings from the rest of the world. Many of those 
with whom I have occasionally sojourned have related 
to me, without the slightest reserve, not only the inci- 
dents of their lives and the facts of their experience, but 
have laid open, without hesitation, their most secret 
thoughts, little dreaming that they were furnishing 
materials which would enable even a poor blind pedler 
to philosophize on this strange life of ours. Sometimes 
I have listened to the story of one whose existence had 
been a continued scene of unmingled joy and delight, 
but more frequently to the sad recital of those who had 
learned nearly all their lessons of life from the stern 
school of sorrow and adversity. Many would naturally 
think that there were but few inducements for a blind 
man to travel ; and it would be true, if his observation 
was confined to the material universe ; but there is that 
which is even more instructive than the face of nature, 
— the mysterious life of the earth's greatest enigma, — 
MAN, which he too may contemplate. It is, without 
doubt, a pleasant thing for the delighted eye to drink in 
at one view the enchanting beauty of a varied and 
picturesque landscape, or to survey the myriad forms 
of nature and art that adorn the earth ; but there is a 
higher enjoyment, a more enduring satisfaction, in 
studying the workings of the human heart, and in con- 
templating their effects in the great drama of life. 

"I remember, in my childhood, that I loved to look 
upon the vaulted sky, and to view the myriad stars 
with which it was studded, whose mystic light seemed 
to bathe the slumbering earth with celestial beauty ; 
but experience has revealed to me a heaven within, 
made resplendent with the light of ever-varying thoughts, 
that through all creative action stamp their indelible 
impress upon the earth, imparting to the humblest life 
a deep significance and a never-fading glory. 


"Often, after the fatigues of the day, have I been 
refreshed with dreams in Avhich I have seen famihar 
objects as in my earher days, ere the hght of these eyes 
was quenched forever. Indeed, since I became bhnd, 
my hfe seems all like one long dream. Sometimes I 
sigh for that coming morrow which shall change my 
midnight darkness to an unclouded and eternal day. 

" There yet remains but one more incident in my 
past life which I need rehearse. I say nothing now of 
the dangers to which, from time to time, I have been 
exposed, or of the many accidents which I have barely 
escaped. It has been with me as 'it is probably with 
every other human being. The pleasures and the 
enjoyments of life have always preponderated over its 
sufferings and its sorrows. I have become attached to 
the avocation of pedler, and shall pursue it so long as 
kind Heaven shall vouchsafe to me health and strength ; 
and when at last my earthly pilgrimage shall have 
been ended, I hope to leave the world cheered by the 
blessed consciousness that I have not livfed altogether in 

" In a few days I shall leave you again. My object 
in visiting you now was not merely to enjoy the grati- 
fication of listening to your voices, and of mingling 
awhile in your society, but to crave your protection for 
one who really needs the assistance and sympathy of a 
friend. I will explain more particularly my meaning. 

" A little more than a year ago, while peddling in a 
small town in the western part of New York state. I 
was informed that there was in the alms-house a little 
blind boy. I found, on calling there, that his mother, 
— his only remaining parent, — was then dangerously 
sick, and not expected to survive but a few hours. 
I had an interview with her for a few momentSj when 


I communicated to her the fact that there were mstitu- 
tions estabhshed for the education of the bhnd, where 
her son might be instructed in some useful employment, 
by which he could maintain himself in after life. She 
earnestly besought me to take him there. I promised 
her that I would do all that I could for him. In a day 
or two, the mother died, and I obtained permission of 
the officers of the town to take the boy with me. I 
contrived to send him on in advance of myself, enjoin- 
ing secrecy upon those in whose care I had intrusted 
him. You already have his likeness; to-morrow, if 
you will, you shall have the original. He is too young 
yet to enter the Institution for the Blind ; until he does 
so, he needs a protector. He is to be called by my 
name, and I shall do for him all in my power." 

We need not say that the family of Captain Tal- 
madge were deeply interested in the account which 
their relative had given them of his life ; nor need we 
add that they entered at once into his benevolent 
schemes for th€ welfare of his protege. 

The next day saw the little blind boy comfortably 
established in the home which had thus been so kindly 
provided for him. 

On the day after, the pedler, with well packed trunks 
and staff in hand, set out upon his journey, — whither, 
no one knew. He was last seen walking on the turn- 
pike road, at a brisker pace than when first we made his 
acquaintance. A noonday sun shone down upon his 
head, but he saw not its light ; yet he felt the genial 
warmth of a sunshine within; for he carried in his 
heart the blessed consciousness that while seeking his 
own good, he was not unmindful of the happiness of 




If there be a subject the importance of which can 
never be over-estimated, it is education. In this com- 
prehensive word is contained the great purpose of our 
being. We were created and endowed with 'physical, 
intellectual and moral capacities, and the great business 
of life should be to develop arid expand them ; and this 
is what is commonly understood by 'self-culture. There 
is no subject more worthy of our consideration than 
this ; and yet, perhaps, there is nothing that has been so 
much neglected by the majority of mankind. We 
have, in this fact, an explanation of many of those evils 
that afflict human society. The inequality that every- 
where exists among men, and which we have at the 
present day no adequate means of removing, is not, as 
some suppose, the effect of the peculiar organization of 
society, but is to be ascribed mainly to the ignorance in 
which the multitude are shrouded. The only legiti- 
mate power, that which confers substantial and endur- 
ing blessings, is derived from nothing so much as a 
good education ; all other is necessarily evanescent. 
Much of the well-meant philanthropy of our day, which 
is expended upon what we cannot help regarding 
chimerical schemes for the regeneration of society, 
might be more profitably employed upon some feasible 
plan for obtaining a more comprehensive system of 
uni.versal education. 

We often hear it said, that the existence and per- 
petuity of our institutions depends upon nothing so 
much as the intelligence and virtue of the people ; and 


yet, until within the last few years, very little has been 
done to promote the cause of education. As our popu- 
lation increases, however, the necessity of dissemi- 
nating knowledge among all classes of our citizens is 
beginning to be felt, and this has already led to the 
adoption of that admirable free school system by many 
of the other states, which has conferred such incalcu- 
lable blessings on New England, and more especially 
upon the State of Massachusetts. 

There is no subject so worthy of the most profound 
attention of the legislator," as the manner best calculated 
to extend to every member of the body politic the 
unspeakable advantages which a good education can 
alone confer, and more especially in our own country, 
where every individual, no matter what his situation 
be in life, is permitted to exercise an equal control over 
the elective franchise. 

If statistics are to be relied upon, our presidential 
elections have sometimes been decided by the votes of 
men who could neither read nor write.* 

One of the most cheering signs of the times, however, 
is the attention which this subject is beginning to 
receive; and we cannot but hope that some method 
will yet be devised for educating that very large portion 
of population which springs from foreign emigration. 

There are two things which our government ought 
to do to promote the security of our institutions and 
the welfare of society. First, it should withhold from 
foreigners who emigrate to our shores the right to par- 
ticipate in our elections, until they have resided here 
long enough to become acquainted with, and attached 
to, the principles of republicanism. And, secondly, it 

* See Horace Mann's Oration before the citizens of Boston. 


should make some provision by which their children 
should receive an education that would fit them in after 
life fully to appreciate the privileges and discharge the 
duties of Americans. 

The obligations of government to establish some 
uniform system of education, that should extend the 
blessings of instruction to every one of its citizens, is 
beginning to be more generally felt by many of the 
states of this confederacy, and we yet hope to see the 
receipts of the public lands appropriated for this pur- 
pose. Still, all that government can do for this noble 
object must necessarily be general and partial. 

Education, for the most part, must depend upon the 
individual ; for it consists not merely in the cultivation 
of the intellect, but also in the development of those 
higher sentiments which were designed to control the 
mental powers, and which, to a greater or less extent, 
differ in their manifestations, in almost every human 
being. For, although there are general laws of mind, 
yet there are no two persons whose mental and moral 
development exactly correspond. Education, to be per- 
fect, must, therefore, be essentially individual in .its 
character ; every one, to a certain extent, must be his 
own instructor. To observe the peculiarities of our 
constitution, — to develop all our powers in such a way 
as to afford each an opportunity to manifest itself 
within its own definite sphere of activity, — to subject the 
appetites and the passions to the authority of the intel- 
lect, and the intellect in its turn to the control and 
guidance of conscience, — this is the great object for 
which we were created, and it should ever constitute the 
end and aim of life. 

The responsibility it miposes cannot be shifted off 
upon the state ; it is made obligatory upon each iiidi- 


vidual soul, and he who neglects to meet its require- 
ments must pay the terrible penalty of ignorance and 

Education, then, in its widest signification, in its 
broadest, most comprehensive sense, requires the culti- 
vation of our whole nature, — the right employment of 
all our powers; and it should be made the great, the 
sole, business of life. 

The universe teems with myriads of objects designed 
to awaken and delight the intellect, the afiections, and 
the imagination. Everything in nature's vast labora- 
tory seems fitted for this one great end, — to develop 
and exercise the faculties of man. From the pebble 
upon the sea-shore, the mind ascends to the contempla- 
tion of a world. There is nothing which our senses 
perceive in earth or sky, — nothing around us or above 
us, but seems fitted to develop some one or more of our 
mental powers. Every material object around us has 
some lesson to impart. Nature is the great teacher of 
us all. 

There is, besides, in the mechanism of the human 
body, in the beautiful adaptation of each part to the 
whole, in the office assigned to each of its functions, and 
in the astonishing regularity with which the animal 
economy is preserved throughout, that which is emi- 
nently calculated to tax the most discriminating powers 
of thought, and to excite the most profound investiga- 
tion. But that which is most worthy of our attention, 
and which furnishes a subject of thought and study 
transcending in grandeur and extent the material world, 
is the human soul, with its inexhaustible faculties and 
lofty aspirations. " The proper study of mankind is 
man." All that is valuable in the universe in the midst 
of which we are placed, is that which tends to excite in 


US the consciousness of the immeasurable superiority of 
mind over matter ; of soul over mere form and space. 
The first is transient, changing, evanescent. The soul 
is fixed, immutable, eternal. 

Education, then, consists, as we conceive it, not in 
that which can be acquired in a few hours spent in 
school for a small portion of our lives, — not in the mere 
development of the intellect, whose activity is mainly 
dependent upon the objects of sensation, but, on the con- 
trary, education, when properly pursued, means some- 
thing more. It requires the cultivation of our whole 
nature, as physical, intellectual, and moral beings. He 


How often do we see those distinguished for their sci- 
entific or literary attainments, for their knowledge of 
human and sacred lore, display in their lives the most 
unpardonable ignorance of the most common physical 
laws ! How many of our young men commence the 
study of the languages before they have become ac- 
quainted with a single principle of physiology ! Wit- 
ness the pale-faced, narrow chest graduates of our 
universities. Perhaps they can read Virgil and Plato ; 
but would it not have been better if they had first given 
some little attention to some of the laivs of health 7 Physi- 
cal education has been, especially in this country, shame- 
fully neglected. It is, however, becoming to be more 
generally understood, that the development of i7i ind, m 
the present state of existence, depends very much upon 
the condition of the body. If the latter be neglected, 
the former must certainly suffer. We hope the tinie is 
coming when he who inherits and preserves a sound 
body will be held in as much repute as he now is who 
not unfrequently destroys it, or renders it nearly use- 
less, while pretending to cultivate the mind. The 


Sickly, emaciated sophomore, — compelled to leave the 
classic halls before his course of study is half completed, 
by the appearance of dyspepsia, consumption, or some 
other disease, which is to be attributed more to his own 
stupidity than any other cause, — to the neglect of 
proper exercise in the open air, &c. — he has studied 
Homer and Virgil, and can solve any problem in Euclid ! 
He expects you to say, Poor fellow ! his mind is greater 
than his body. Poh, nonsense ! with all his learning, 
he is a consummate ignoramus ! He has preferred the 
study of metaphysics, but neglected the study of the 
commonest principles of physiology ; and now he must 
pay the penalty. With a little common sense, he might 
have been a happy man, and an ornament to society. 
As it is, he will sink into an early and premature 
grave ! 

In this country, moral education, as such, has been 
quite as much neglected as physical education. It has 
even become now to be thought that great intellectual 
and moral attainments are incompatible with each 
other. Hence, we hear it said of our great men, so 
called, that we ought not to judge them by that com- 
mon standard with which we measure the merits of 
men in humble life. Conscience seems to have become 
almost an obsolete idea with many of those, who, by 
their superior intellectual culture, have acquired an as- 
cendancy in the political world. Policy, not right, is 
with them the highest law. In practice, if not in the- 
3ry, the end is almost always made to justify the means. 
It would seem that, in this country, we have not only 
divorced church and state, but morality and govern- 
ment. It has become quite common, of late, to say that 
those precepts of our holy religion which inculcate a 
strict adherence to right, and an inveterate abhorrence 


of wrong, are applicable only to the individual, — can he 
carried out only in common life. The distinguished 
statesman, — he who, for the time being, controls the 
destiny of a nation, — is exonerated from all obligation 
but that imposed by a degrading expediency. It is a 
shameful fact, that many of the greatest offences against 
the laws of the land, and the usages of society, are 
committed by those distinguished from their fellows 
for nothing, perhaps, but superior intellectual culture 
and moral obliquity, and who are sometimes only 
enabled to escape justice by the enormity of their 

In our institutions of learning, there is not, and there 
never has been, sufficient attention paid to moral edu- 
cation. Our young men, indeed, are sometimes m- 
structed in ethics ; but it is simply as a science, or an 
amusing subject of mere speculation. The maxims of 
an unbending morality are usually frittered away by 
some accommodating- qualification. Perhaps we have 
said enough when we inform the reader that Paley's 
Moral Philosophy is used in many of our institutions 
as a textbook. 

We would by no means depreciate intellectual cul- 
ture, nor underrate the advantages it confers. What 
we do maintain is, that there should be more attention 
paid to the cultivation of our moral nature, and that 
the observance of the principles of a sound morality 
should be enforced by our schools and colleges, with at 
least as much sincerity and firmness as they would in- 
sist upon the observance of the principles of criticism 
and the laws of taste. When this is done, we may 
look with reason for a diminution of those evils 
which at present afflict society, and we may then ex- 
pect to see, what is not always witnessed now, the 


legislator obeying the laws which he himself has 
made. Then will the fallacy of that pernicious maxim 
be exposed, that knowledge and evil are insepara- 
ble, — that he who would be happy must remain in 

Thus we have spoken of education, — of the univer- 
sality of its character, and of the deplorable manner in 
which physical and moral culture have been neglected. 
To many this may seem a trite subject, yet, neverthe- 
less, it has not received the attention it deserves. What 
the world most needs is educated men. We mean 
'■'■ reaV educated men. No more of those whose genius 
has been cramped and warped by the fettered and un- 
natural system at present pursued in many of our insti- 
tutions of learning. We need no more of those whose 
intellectual development is to their moral development 
as a hundred to zero. We need men whose lives will 
be examples for other generations, — a perfect man. 
This expression is yet confined to Sacred Writ. The 
world has never yet had a living illustration. As we 
have already observed, those who have cultivated their 
minds have neglected their physical constitution and 
their moral education. A healthy body and a well-bal- 
anced mind, — who has ever seen them in the same 
individual? And yet, surely, there is nothing in this 
union incompatible. If, instead of our present limited, 
we but took a more universal view of the purpose and 
extent of education ; if, instead of occupying a few 
months, or, at most, a few years, we were to make it 
the great, the sole business of life, — the object tran- 
scending in importance all others, — then would there be 
more perfect men upon the earth, and less pigmies and 
dwarfs. Then would there be but one power acknowl- 
edged, — one distinction known, — that which talent and 


merit ought alone to confer. We repeat, that what we 
most need is a thorough system of universal education, 
— sufficiently universal, sufficiently thorough, to com- 
prehend every human being, and to enable all to accom- 
plish the great purpose of life. 



Deprived of all those essential privileges which assist 
my more fortunate fellow-men in addressing a public 
audience, there hardly remains a necessity to advert to 
those imperfections which must seem apparent in the 
discharge of a duty to which I am, as yet, but little ac- 

The system of educating the blind has been eminently 
successful in imparting to the mind the most valuable 
rudiments of human knowledge. But the thousand ob- 
jects of observation that daily occur in life, and which 
have so great a share in establishing and augmenting a 
man's information, are beyond our reach. And we are 
therefore compelled to exhibit, in our intercourse with 
those around us, a more limited knowledge of the gen- 
eral views of society, and a greater attachment to first 
principles. Under these restraints, I have no ambition 
to come before you for any other purpose than to per- 
form a duty I owe to those who are as unfortunate as 
myself It has always been my object, whenever I 
have addressed a public audience, to impart information 
on the subject of educating the blind, — their ability to 
support themselves, and their claims to public favor, 
rather than excite sympathy, or gratify any feeling of 
personal interest. And I shall endeavor to do so upon 
the present occasion. The object of my remarks this 
evening will be to establish this fact, viz. : that the blind 

* This article contains the substance of one of the first extempora- 
neous addresses delivered by the author. It is inserted here, because 
it contains facts not given in previous articles upon this subject. 


have ability to prosecute with success many of those 
pursuits and professions which have generally been re- 
garded only practicable to those in the full enjoyment 
of all the organs of sense, and that the mere want of 
sight in no way impairs the vigor and exercise of the 
intellect. How far I shall succeed in doing this, remains 
for you to decide. 

It may, we think, be assumed, that, of all the calami- 
ties to which a human being can ever be subjected, 
blindness is one of the most appalling. We suppose this 
to be the opinion of the majority of mankind. Whatever 
may be said of the comparative value of the senses, and 
of the power which the blind possess to overcome the 
effects of their misfortune, and notwithstanding tnere 
have been many deprived of sight distinguished in the 
scientific, literary, and in the religious world, yet we 
think there is no one who would not part with any, or 
even all his senses, rather than be bereft of that sover- 
eign organ upon which the mind is wont to be cliiefly 
dependent for most of its knowledge of the external 
world. It is impossible for those with eyes to form an 
adequate idea of the terrible darkness in which the 
blind man is shrouded, of the absence of that light that 
can alone reveal the myriads of beautiful objects that 
seem made to adorn the earth and to gladden the heart. 
It is not like the temporary darkness of evening, for that 
is in a measure dissipated by the mild reflections of the 
moon. It is the terrible midnight darkness that knows 
no morn. It would be natural to suppose, on first re- 
flection, that the condition to which the blind man is 
subjected would exert an unfavorable influence upon 
his mind and heart, for the condition of our feelings and 
the character of our thoughts depend very much upon 
the nature of the influence exerted upon us by the ma- 


terial objects around us. But we apprehend it will be 
found that there are in our nature principles, which, 
perhaps, misfortune can only awaken, that can, in a 
very great degree, compensate us for the effect of the 
deprivation of any of the senses. And this is made 
strikingly manifest in the uncommon exuberance of 
spirits and remarkable cheerfulness which the blind 
usually exhibit, and which is quite unlike the effect we 
should naturally expect from such a calamity. One of 
the most wonderful arrangements of nature is, that 
when any part of the human body or faculty of the hu- 
man mind becomes diseased or destroyed, its office is 
in a measure supplied by some one of our physical or 
mental powers, whose activity has become, in conse- 
quence, greatly increased. Thus, in deaf persons, sight 
becomes very acute. We know, too, that when one 
arm is amputated, the other becomes much stronger. 
In like manner, the sense of touch in the blind acquires 
a keenness and susceptibility which are rarely exhibited 
in other persons. We would by no means be under- 
stood to assert that this system of compensation is com- 
plete and universal; far from it: — there is no power 
or faculty with which we are endowed, but that has a 
definite purpose which it can perform better than any 
other. What we would say, is merely that which no 
one can fail to observe, — that the deprivation of any 
one of our senses tends greatly to enlarge the sphere 
and usefulness of all the others. There are many 
instances on record of those who have been deprived 
early in life of the use of one of their arms, who have 
succeeded, by long practice, in making the other perform 
the duties of both. It is related of a distinguished 
French artist, that, upon his right hand becoming dis- 
abled and finally rendered entirely useless by disease, 


he was enabled to use the pencil and the brush with eqiial 
facility. There is also an authentic account of a man, 
who, on being deprived by an accident of both of his 
arms, was enabled to write by making his toes supply 
the place of his fingers. It is in this way that the blind 
man is enabled, to so great an extent, to supply the 
place of sight by the sense of touch and hearing. The 
extent to which he is enabled to do this, is astonishing 
to those who have never witnessed the readiness with 
which he reads with his fingers, and walks unaided 
from place to place. No one can visit the schools 
which have been established in this country for the 
blind and the deaf and dumb, without becoming con- 
vinced that we should never know the full extent of the 
faculties with which God has endowed us, if we were 
not sometimes permitted to witness the effect produced 
by the deprivation of one or more of them. But, as we 
have already remarked, the loss of any one of our 
senses must be regarded as a positive evil, because 
its place cannot be entirely supplied by the exercise of 
any or all of the others. For example, we make use 
of the eye to do many things which can just as well be 
done by the sense of touch. Color is probably the only 
attribute or quality of matter which cannot be perceived 
by the other senses as well as by sight. Most men 
judge of form, distance, &c., by the eye, probably with 
greater readiness than they could do with any of the 
other senses. But it does not therefore follow that the 
blind man may not, with, of course, a greater amount 
of exertion, obtain these ideas through the medium of 
touch. The only pursuits of life from which he is in 
fact debarred by his misfortune, are painting, and, per- 
haps, the study of anatomy. 
We shall by-and-by have occasion to consider more 


m detail the effects of blindness, and the manner m 
which it is in a measure overcome by those ingenious 
contrivances by which the philanthropists of our day 
have been so successful in mitigating the condition of 
those who were generally supposed to be beyond the 
reach of ameliorating influences. We propose, how- 
ever, first, to offer a few remarks on the condition of the 
blind as a class in past ages. Language is inadequate 
to describe the wretchedness, ignorance and degrada- 
tion to which the ill-fated blind man has, until within a 
comparatively recent period, been subjected. In the 
earlier ages, among the nations of antiquity, he seems 
to have been regarded merely as the burden of society. 
It was thought that be must, from necessity, grow up 
in physical, intellectual, ay! and in moral darkness. 
The poet and the philanthropist wept over him, and in 
sad strains bewailed his fate. 

Ah ! think, if June's delicious rays 

The eye of sorrow can illume, 
Or wild December's beamless days 

Can fling o'er all a transient gloom ; 

Ah ! think, if skies obscure or bright 

Can thus depress or cheer the mind ; 
Ah ! think, mid clouds of utter night 

What mournful moments wait the blind. 

When, to the breezy upland led, 

At noon, or blushing eve, or mom, 
He hears the red-breast o'er his head. 

While round him breathes the scented thorn. 

But, oh ! instead of nature's face, 

Hills, dales and woods, and streams combined, — 
Instead of forms, and tints, and grace. 

Night's blackest mantle shrouds the blind. 


If rosy youth, bereft of sight, 
Jlidst countless thousands pines unblest. 

As the gay flower withdrawn from light 
Bows to the earth, where all must rest j 

Ah ! think, when life's declining hours 

To chilling penury consigned, 
And pain has palsied all his powers, 

Ah ! think what woes await the blind.* 

When we consider the extent to which the blind are 
now educated, it seems surprising that the simple 
method by which they are instructed should not have 
suggested itself to the minds of men at an earlier 
period. And our astonishment is increased when we 
take into consideration the fact that there have been, in 
almost every age, those who, unaided with sight and 
unassisted by society, have succeeded in overcoming 
what would seem almost insurmountable obstacles, in 
the acquisition of knowledge, and have acquired, in 
scientific and literary pursuits, a celebrity which those 
who have eyes might well envy.f 

But it must be remembered that it was not until 
recently that society was made conscious that it had in 
its bosom so many of its ill-fated children. It was not 
until a late date that it was discovered that, by an 
immutable and inscrutable law, a certain proportion of 
our race, in every generation, are deprived of the inesti- 
mable blessing of sight. If it had been known in 
former years, that there were probably more than half a 
million of blind persons upon the earth, and that in 
some countries their proportion was from one in every 

* These lines, were written by Rushton, who, we believe, was him- 
self blind. 

fSee article entitled "Blindness and the Blind," and article entitled 
"Nicholas Saunderson." 


five hundred to one in every eight hundred inhabitants, 
we doubt not that much more would have been done to 
improve and elevate their condition. For to suppose 
that there would not, would be an impeach ment of the 
cliarity, justice and wisdom of society. If there be 
any class of human beings entitled to the sympathy 
and commiseration of their more fortunate fellow- 
men, it is the blind. For what can be a greater 
calamity than that which dooms its victim to perpetual 
darkness 1 What greater misfortune than to be placed 
upon this beautiful earth without ever being permitted 
to behold it ? Such is the lot of the blind man. His 
life is as dark and as dreary as the silent tomb at mid- 

"To others, with the year, seasons retom. 
But not to him returns 
Day, or the sweet approach of eve or morn, 
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose, 
Or flocks, or herds, 
Or hiunan face divine ; 
But clouds instead, and ever during 
Dark surrounds him. 
From the cheerful ways of men 
Cut off, and from the book of 
Knowledge fair, presented with 
A universal blank of nature's 
Works, to him expunged and 'rased." 

It was probably the extraordinary attainments of 
those eminent blind men who obtained an education 
without the special aid of society, that first suggested to 
Abbe Hauy and others, the idea that a system might be 
devised of instructing the blind, by substituting the 
sense of touch for that of which they were deprived. 
It would take too much time to detail here the many 
experiments which finally resulted in the accomplish- 
ment of this object. To teach the blind to read, it was 


necessary to make use of characters which they could 
distinguish with their fingers. This was at first attained 
by cutting out letters upon wood, or stamping them 
upon metal. At length, however, a plan was devised 
of printing them upon paper. You have probably all 
had an opportunity of examining books prepared in 
this way, and of witnessing the readiness which a blind 
person is enabled to read with his fingers. 

[For a minute description of the modus operandi of 
instructing the blind, we refer the reader to the article 
entitled "Blindness and the Blind."] 

The system of teaching the blind may be expressed 
in a few words. It is accomplished by the substitution 
of the touch for sight, or the fingers for the eye. 

If any one of you wish to show a child in the dark 
the difierence between a right angle and a triangle, a 
square or a circle, you would either have to mark it 
upon his hand, or cut it out upon wood, or in some 
way contrive to give him a tangible illustration. Now, 
what you would be compelled to do for a seeing child 
in the dark, is precisely what the teacher of the blind 
has to do for his pupil in the light. He is compelled, in 
every case, to reach the mind through the avenues of 
touch and hearing. To teach the blind in reading, 
writing, arithmetic, <fcc., is comparatively easy. But to 
give them a thorough education is one of the most diffi- 
cult, as it is certainly one of the most noble, objects that 
has ever engaged the attention of the humane and 

I shall occupy the rest of the hour in giving you some 
account of the institutions which have of late been 
established in this country for the education of the blind. 
The exact number of the blind in this country is not 
known. Their number, however, cannot fall short of 


ten thousand. The efforts which have been made to 
benefit so large a portion of onr fellow-citizens must, I 
am sure, be regarded by you all with deep interest. 
For, besides the claim which this subject possesses upon 
our sympathies, there is another view which is far 
more likely to influence the larger portion of mankind. 
It is for the interest of society that all its members 
should be educated. It is in this way alone that it 
can prevent so many of its unfortunate members from 
hanging upon it like a dead weight. Educate the blind, 
and you no longer have them thronging the streets 
soliciting alms,* as is the case in most of the large cities 
of Europe, and to some extent even in our own country. 
Nothing was done for the blind of the United States, 
until the year 1829, when an institution was incor- 
porated by the Legislature of Massachusetts, — (ever 
foremost in the cause of education and philanthropy,) — 
which went into operation at Boston, three years after- 
wards. The idea of such an establishment seems first 
to have been conceived by Dr. John D. Fisher, M. D. 
This gentleman, during his residence at Paris, was 
accustomed frequently to visit the institution for the 
blind in that city ; and he conceived the idea of having 
a similar establishment in his own country. Accord- 
ingly, upon his return home, he, in conjunction with 
several other benevolent persons, succeeded in obtaining 
an act of incorporation for the institution to which we 
have just referred.! 

* In many of the European cities, a large number of blind persons 
are seen at all times at the corners of the streets asking charity of 
passers by. It was this spectacle, which M. Hauy so often witnessed 
in Paris, that awakened his sympathies in their behalf. 

t See address of the Trustees of the New England Institution for the 
Education of the Blind. Published Boston, 1832 


The deep interest awakened in behalf of the blind, 
Idj the establishment of an institution at Boston, and 
similar ones in New York and Philadelphia, was highly 
honorable to the American people. "The wealthy 
contributed of their abundance, and the poor withheld 
not their mite," Tlie generous vied with each other 
to see who should do most for such a noble enter- 
prise. The blind were sought out from the highways 
and byways of the land, and for the first time were 
taught that they too might become useful and happy. 
In Boston, the truly honorable Thomas H. Perkins 
came forward and offered his elegant mansion as a 
home for the blind, on condition that a permanent fund 
of fifty thousand dollars could be raised among his fel- 
low-citizens. This was accomplished in the short 
space of a week ; fifteen thousand dollars of this sum 
was actually raised by the ladies of Boston, always first 
in every good cause. The legislatures of many of the 
states have made annual appropriations to educate the 
poor blind. Books in raised characters have been 
printed for their use, and other apparatus devised, to 
give them a knowledge of mathematics, geography, 
astronomy, &c. ; and many a wretched, sightless being, 
who dreamed of nothing but darkness, ignorance and 
imbecility, is now permitted to enjoy all the advantages 
of a good education. 

The institutions for the blind have steadily increased, 
and there are now seven or eight of them in different 
parts of the country ; and we hope there will soon be one 
in every state of the Union. For the smaller the institu- 
tion, the more likely is the good of the individual to be 
sought. Large establishments are too apt to forget the 
simple purpose for which they were at first created. 
We make this remark, not as more applicable to the 


.mstitutions for the blind, than to those for the ameliora- 
tion of any other class. We never can be too jealous 
in this country of large, overgrown establishments, no 
matter what was the object for which they were orig- 
inally established. They will be always found guilty 
of great abuses. We, therefore, think it vastly better 
that every state should attend to the education of its 
own blind. 

The fact has now been established beyond a doubt, 
that the blind man can receive as good an education as 
a seeing person with the same mental endowments. 
The graduates of the institutions of which we have 
been speaking, will be found to possess as thorough an 
education, to say the least, as is imparted in our semi- 
naries and academies for those that have eyes. Besides 
this, the blind are instructed in various kinds of handi- 
craft work. They manufacture mats, mattresses, bas- 
kets, hearth-rugs, chairs, shoes, brushes, and various 
other small articles. They can work as well, but not 
as fast, as seeing persons. There are, connected with 
most of the institutions, stores, where the articles just 
enumerated, are sold at the market price. It must be 
remembered that the blind cannot make use, to any 
great extent, of steam and machinery, edge tools, &c. 
Consequently, they cannot compete with seeing persons. 
In England and Scotland, where the wages of labor are 
much lower than in this country, the blind man enjoys 
a greater advantage. The fifty cents which he is 
enabled to earn by fifteen hours' labor, will obtain more 
of the necessaries of life in Edinburgh than in Boston 
or New York. There is, perhaps, no employment in 
life, none of the avocations of society, where the blind 
man can figure to as much advantage as he who is 
aided with sight. 


Music is the favorite employment of the blind. Its 
pursuit probably affords them a higher degree of 
enjoyment than that of any other to which they might 
give their attention. " In the concord of sweet sounds," 
he derives a pleasure akin to that which they feel 
whose blessed privilege it is to look upon the ever- 
varied face of nature. Yet even here sight confers an 
advantage. It was thought at first that the blind would 
be generally employed as organists in our churches, 
and as teachers of music ; but the result has not equalled 
their hopes, nor their claims. We know of but few 
blind persons who have been able to obtain constant 
employment as musicians. And, as we have already 
remarked, there are, in almost every situation of life, 
difficulties in obtaining a livelihood which can only be 
fully overcome with the aid of sight. How a blind 
man can best obtain a support for himself and his fam- 
ily, is still problematical. We cannot, however, doubt 
that some method will yet be found out, some way dis- 
covered, of at length placing him on an equality with* 
those around him. 

We have thus endeavored to give you some account 
of the blind, and of the efforts which have been made 
in this country to give them an education. There are 
many things which we have necessarily been compelled 
to omit. We have stated those facts which we supposed 
would be most interesting. The time which courtesy 
and custom have assigned for an address of this nature 
has nearly expired. I will only add, in conclusion, that 
if, in the desultory remarks I have made, I have suc- 
ceeded in awaking a deeper interest in behalf of the 
blind, my object has been accomplished ; then I have 
not spoken and you have not listened in vain. 



The peculiarities of men, that constitute, in the 
aggregate, their character, can always be traced to their 
physical, intellectual, or moral constitution. The wise 
or foolish things that we do in common life, and which 
collectively form a large portion of each one's history, 
are, for the most part, the results of some physical con- 
formation, or the possession of some mental endow- 
ment, or, more frequently still, for the want of some. 
Now, this principle holds good when I apply it to my- 
self, or to all with whom I have ever been acquainted. 
Of all the eccentric geniuses I have ever met with, — and 
they have been many, — there is not one whose peculiar 
oddity I cannot trace to some idiosyncrasy'" more or less 
manifest. I say, not one; — there was, however, one 
individual I became acquainted with, some years ago, 
whose peculiarity of character could hardly be account- 
ed for during his life. Almost his entire earthly pilgrim- 
age was employed in trying to demolish whatever he 
happened not to have a hand in constructing. Indeed, 
it was his pride that his life was an entire negation. 
The spirit that animated him was always the spirit of 
the present. His neck was so stiff that he never could 
look behind nor above him. Sometimes- he would 
amuse himself in laboring to demolish human society as 
a whole. At others, he would endeavor to dispose of it 
in detail. There were two ways in which he settled 
the rightfulness of anything: — 1st. Did he have no hand 
in its formation 7 2d. Did it exist before he was born ? 
If both of these were answered in the affirmative, it 


was wrong. He had such an aversion to the past, or 
whatever could boast of antiquity, he would never look 
at the moon after it was a fortnight old. Yet did my 
friend possess many traits that made him attractive. 
He deeply sympathized with suffering and misery, 
wherever it existed. Indeed, it was a favorite expres- 
sion with him that his heart beat with the mighty heart 
of humanity. His distinguishing characteristic was, as 
we have attempted to describe it, an aversion to what- 
ever existed anterior to himself There seemed to be in 
the past a demon that was ever pursuing him. The 
only time he was ever known to laugh outright, was 
after he had listened to a religious fanatic, who pre- 
dicted the speedy destruction of the world. It was a 
greater change than my friend had ever contemplated 
before. The idea of at length being revenged upon the 
established order of things, afforded him a moment of 
deep delight, such as he had never experienced before. 
"What," said he, emphatically, as soon as he could re- 
cover himself from the effect which the extraordinary 
prediction had exerted, "then this world, which they 
say has existed for six thousand years, is to be revolu- 
tionized, — turned up-side down, — it will be a grand 
spectacle. And in the conflict of elements shall at 
length be realized that glorious equality which I always 
knew could be attained." I do not think he ever en- 
tirely relinquished the idea of this mighty, this stu- 
pendous revolution, as he was accustomed to character- 
ize it, though he lived to see the day go by which the 
prophet had fixed for its occurrence. 

My eccentric friend not only had an aversion to 
things that had an existence prior to his own, but to 
names. He therefore fixed upon a cognomen by which 
he was distinguished. He obstinately refused to an- 


swer to any other. He rejected with disdain his bap- 
tismal name, because it had been that of his uncle, who 
died before lie was born. The name which he selected 
for himself was Noggs. There was one difficulty with 
which Mr. Noggs had to contend through life. He 
found it impossible to pursue an occupation which was 
not followed by some other person, or which had not 
been before he was born. He finally, however, fixed 
upon one which there are certainly but few who would 
like to foUovv^. He imposed upon himself the task of 
persuading every one to whom he could obtain access, 
that everything before his day was wrong, — all lorong. 
And, strange to say, he succeeded in finding disciples. 
In his lectures and in his writings, in his conversations, 
and in every way in which he could act upon another, 
Mr. Noggs sought to persuade men that the only reme- 
dy for all their ills was in change. He had in the wide 
world, notwithstanding his opposition to all things as 
they are, but one whom he thought was his enemy, — 
and that was a distinguished medical gentleman, who, 
on one occasion, had pronounced hiin insane. We have 
not described the personal appearance of our friend. 
And we have only time now to say, — that he was very 
thin and spare ; for his diet was strictly vegetable. 
His opposition to animal food arose from the fact that 
it was generally used. His cadaverous features were 
"never lit up excepting when in conversation on his 
favorite subject, — revolution. His equanimity of tem- 
per was never disturbed, excepting when some one sug- 
gested that he might be laboring under a mental hallu- 
cination. It was only on such, occasions, — when filled 
with indignation, that he would refer to distinguished 
men, — such as Peter the Great, Napoleon, Washington, 
<lfcc. And then it was only to prove the incontestable 


fact, that all great men, like him, in their day, were 
called insane, — because they had endeavored to change 
the world, and revolutionize mankind. At length, after 
spending two thirds of the time allotted to man upon 
the earth, in the fruitless attempt to produce a general 
confusion in the affairs of men for the sake of a variety, 
Mr. Noggs died. His friends, who had observed his 
eccentricities without being able to account for them, 
had now determined to gratify their curiosity. A post 
mortem examination was accordingly decided upon. 
Several medical gentlemen were present on the occa- 
sion. The head of poor Noggs was first submitted to 
the knife; for some had shrewdly suspected that all 
the mischief lay there. For several minutes all looked 
on in anxious expectation. At length the operator 
paused for a moment to inquire of the gentlemen pres- 
ent what it was that they particularly expected to find. 
"We wish to ascertain," said one of their number, 
gravely, "what it was that made the subject so averse, 
during his whole life, to everything he found in the 
world." "Ah!" replied the operator, dropping his 
knife, " we need, then, go no further. It is my opinion, 
it was the Avant of a large quantity of brains in this 
part of the head, which, you see, is not here," pointing 
to the place with the end of his knife. After each one 
of the company had examined for themselves, they 
finally came to the following unanimous opinion, wliich 
was carefully written down for future use, and was de- 
posited in the archives of the Massachusetts Medical 
Society. The following is an extract from this invalu- 
uable document : — 

" The undersigned, being the personal friends of Mr. 
Noggs, late deceased, assisted by several medical gen- 
tlemen, have made a post mortem examination, and 


believe that they have at length arrived at the cause of 
the singular conduct which distinguished this remarka- 
ble personage when living. They are of the unanimous 
opinion that his opposition to society, and to things in 
general, is mainly attributable to his want of brains. 
And as we believe that many of his disciples are still 
living, we feel called upon to express the result of our 
observation, so that the world may extend towards 
them, who are undoubtedly laboring under the same 
calamity as that which afflicted their illustrious master, 
all the lenity and kindness to which persons with de- 
fective brains are entitled." 



A DISTINGUISHED infidel, who had acquired quite a 
notoriety in New England, for his opposition to Chris- 
tianity, found himself one day in the railroad car, in 
company with several clergymen. He immediately at- 
tempted to engage them in a controversy. And after 
retailing all that he had obtained from Voltaiie, Hume, 
Gibbon, and others, without being able to ac(^omplish 
his purpose, he happened to discover that there was a 
blind man present, and thus addressed him: — "Do 
you, sir, believe in a God, who has made this beautiful 
earth, and the sun to shine upon it, and who has 
adorned the heavens with myriads of stars, and yet, 
without any cause on your part, has deprived you for- 
ever of the power of beholding them ? " 

The man without eyes replied as follows: — "I am 
surprised, my dear sir, that you should ask me such a 
question. I believe in the existence of God as firmly as 
in my own. And I could doubt the one as easily as 
the other. There is one thing that strikes me as being 
very peculiar in what you have said. When you rea- 
son of God, you do not seem to be governed by the 
same principles as when reasoning about men, and the 
common affairs of every-day life." The infidel denied 
the inference, and the blind man proceeded: — "When 
we shall have reached our place of destination, the sun, 
of Avhich you have so eloquently spoken, will have 
withdrawn his light, and the earth Avill be enveloped in 
comparative darkness. Suppose, on reaching 3"our 
home, and on entering your room, you find a lighted 


lamp upon the table, — what will be your conclu- 

" Why," said the infidel, affecting to sneer at his 
companion, "I shall conclude that my mother or my 
sister placed it there." 

"Well, then," replied the blind man, "when you 
look up into the heavens and see those innumerable 
lights of which you have spoken, why do you not come 
to the same conclusion, viz., that some intelligent being 
placed them there?" 

The sceptic declared that his companion was "a 
blind Christian, and that he would have nothing more 
to do with him." * 

The conversation narrated above actually took place, 
and there are probably many who were present that 
will remember the circumstance. 

* It will be observed that the argument made use of here is Butler's, 
ttdth this difference : a lamp being substituted for a watch. 



" I AM lonely, very lonely ! " ejaculated a proud and 
beautiful girl, as she paced her apartment, which had 
been adorned with all that a fastidious and luxurious 
taste could suggest. A heart, whose affections had 
been frittered away upon fashionable trifles, yearned 
for sympathy and companionship. And she, the only 
daughter of a princely merchant, coveted that which 
the poor and the humble never want. She walked to 
the window, and gazed out upon the heavens. The 
stars looked coldly down upon her, and she felt, for the 
first time, a deep want which wealth could not satisfy. 
Poor Laura Marshall ! The almost spoiled favorite of 
fortune ! At that hour she would have relinquished all 
the enjoyments with which she had been surrounded 
from her infancy, could she have obtained that for 
which she sighed, — the sympathy of one who could 
remove from her heart that sense of loneliness and 
wretchedness, that seemed to eclipse, for a moment, the 
remembrance of all her former joys. As she looked 
around her, and reflected how many had been em- 
ployed to administer to her gratification, how many 
had labored to contribute to her happiness, and of the 
little return which she had made for all this, it is not 
surprising that she was sad. For, in spite of her opu- 
lence, she felt a sense of dependence which even wealth 
cannot remove. Of the differences which everywhere 
exist in human society, she knew nothing. The rich 
and the poor were the names of classes, the first of 
of which she had been taught to court, and the other to 

A SKETCH. 287 

despise. Of the nature of that tie which binds together 
all the members of the human family, she knew noth- 

Such was Laura Marshall, when, for the first time, 
had been awakened in her soul a consciousness of that 
to which mere wealth alone cannot administer. As she 
was vainly endeavoring to overcome her feelings, and 
to change the current of her thoughts, she inadvertently 
placed her hand upon a book which was lying beside 
her. She opened it eagerly. It was the Life of Cow- 
pcr. She read on with avidity, until she had finished 
that passage of his life, where, being oppressed with 
melancholy, he attempted to commit suicide, but was 
prevented from doing so by a poor child, who solicited 
aims of Cowper, and, by that means, made him ac- 
quainted with a sphere in life in which he might be 
useful, and where he might know the luxury of doing 
good. This showed him that his life was still valua- 
ble, and that there was yet a path in which he might 
find true happiness. As Laura Marshall read this, her 
countenance brightened. "I, too, will try it," she said, 
replacing the book. Henceforth she who, until then, 
had only served to grace the fashionable circle, or to 
ornament the drawing-room with her pretty face, might 
be seen searching for happiness among the haunts of 
the poor and the needy; and, like Cowper, she found it. 
Activity had taken the place of refined sloth. The 
doing of good had superseded idleness. She did not 
appreciate less the pleasures which wealth confers, but 
she had discovered a deeper joy in sharing it with 
others. In fine, Laura Marshall had found the true 
secret of happiness, and the doing of good to others 
so occupied her leisure moments, that she never again 
felt the sensation of loneliness. 



Man has sometimes been compared to a kingdom, 
There exists an intimate and beautiful analogy be- 
tween the powers of the individual mind, the duties 
they were designed to perform, and the coordinate pow- 
ers of the government of the body politic. The resem- 
blance is even more striking, when we compare man to 
a republic. The feelings and the passions, where orig- 
inate most of the acts of life, correspond with the popu- 
lar branch of the government, or the house of represen- 
tatives. The intellect, to which all the acts of the 
passions are referred for its sanction, is the senate of 
this little republic. If the passions and the intellect 
agree upon any course of conduct, the matter is then 
referred to the will, or the executive, who may either 
ratify or veto it. Conscience, veneration, and benevo- 
lence, constitute the judiciary ; and it is their business 
to decide upon the legality or illegality of whatever is 
done by any or all of the other departments. This au- 
gust tribunal decides whether our acts are in conformity 
with that universal law written by the finger of God, 
alike upon every object of the material world, and upon 
the tablets of the human heart. Now, we not unfre- 
quently witness this same struggle going on in this 
miniature republic, between its different functionaries, 
that is every day seen, upon a larger scale, between the 
different departments of the state, — the same striving 
for ascendancy; — the same desire of each member or 
constituent part to transcend the limits of its activity. 
and usurp the rights and privileges of the other. 


There is yet another particular in which man may 
be considered as a type of the state. In human society 
there has ever been two prominent elements, that in 
every age of the world, and under almost every form 
of government, have contended with each other. They 
have had as many names applied to them as they have 
assumed different aspects. Sometimes they are called 
might and right, — at others, principle and power. In 
one age or nation, monarchy and democracy, — in an- 
other, liberty and slavery. Now these different names 
but indicate the same principles, — ever active, ever 
striving to overcome each other. And the phenomena 
to which they give rise in society have their counterpart 
only in the never-ceasing struggles that mark the de- 
velopment and progress of every human soul. Every 
man must, I think, be conscious of a perpetual conflict 
going on within him between right and wrong, good 
and bad, pleasure and pain, beauty and deformity, or 
by whatever names we may choose to distinguish the 
antagonistic principles that seem to mark the path of 
our destiny. They may be called the essential elements 
of nature. They seem to be essential to all life and ac- 
tivity. And some have supposed that without one we 
could not appreciate the other. We recognize them in 
the material world by the terms light and darkness. In 
music, they are called harmony and discord. 

Such are the two constituent principles, that, under 
the names of good and evil, or, when personified, 
angel and devil, together or in turn, exercise an indis- 
putable sway over human life. These mighty agen- 
cies ! who can define them? — yet who that has not felt 
their power ? Who, at every moment of his existi nee, 
is not made aware of the strivings of each for the c, )m- 
plete dominion of his soul 7 What human being Las 


ever been able, even with the aid of philosophy and 
religion, to cultivate one and entirely suppress the 
other? We are sometimes permitted to behold rare ex- 
amples of individuals, in whom virtue is ever the dom- 
inant element. But oftener, alas ! do we see those in 
whom is presented a fearful contrast,— in whose souls 
victory is as often declared in favor of vice as of virtue. 
The experience of the majority of mankind, — what is 
it, but the fierce struggle of the passions with the intel- 
lect, and the intellect with the conscience ; of the desire 
of power with the sense of justice ; of selfishness with 
disinterested love 7 It is this terrible conflict that marks 
our earthly existence, — that causes us now to smile, 
and now to weep, — that gives us over at one time to 
the dominion of angelic happiness, and at another to 
the control of terrible despair. In the life within, there 
is little uniformity, — all is unrest. The influence of 
the antagonistic principles of which we are speaking, is 
everywhere seen. You may behold their manifestation 
among the busy crowd in the great thoroughfare of life. 
You can see them display themselves within the limits 
of your own neighborhood, in the precincts of your own 
home. They early stamp their impress upon the linea- 
• ments of the countenance ; so, from the features of the 
little child, you may often read the future man. Thus, in 
the Corsica boy, was seen the future emperor of the world. 
Thus was it predicted of the youth of Mount Vernon, that 
he should one day be the saviour of his country. 

It is mortifying to reflect, that man has not yet been 
able to explain the precise nature and character of those 
mighty agents that control his life, and, to a certain ex- 
tent, determine his destiny. How poor and imsatisfac- 
tory the answers which philosophy retiu'ns to these 
questions: What is virtue? What is evil? Whence 


did they emanate, and to what do they tend 1 Is one 
finally to supplant the other, or are we forever to be 
under the dominion of both '? Until these problems are 
solved, human nature will continue to be an enigma. 
Is it not deplorable, that, of all our sciences, the science 
of life should be least understood ? The refined philos- 
ophy of our day exalts man as a creature of heaven. 
The darker speculations of other times degrade him 
with devils. One school contends for the purity of hu- 
man nature, and the other for its total depravity. For 
our own part, we sympathize with neither of these 
views. When we look abroad upon the earth, — when 
we study the history of man and society, though some- 
times dehghted by his splendid attainments, we are 
often overwhelmed with his gigantic vices. One thing 
is pleasant to observe, that his good genius never en- 
tirely forsakes him. In the most degraded human 
being that dwells upon the earth, there is a divine 
spark, which divine love may fan into a flame. The 
principle of beauty never entirely dies. Like the flower 
withdrawn from the dew and the light, it may wither 
and fade ; but the smile of heaven can again revive it, 
and impart to it new vigor, and cause it to open its 
petals, and gladden life with its fragrance. The awful 
voice of God within is never entirely silenced. In the 
most abject and degraded, it still whispers of a better 
land and a higher life. The omnipotent power of truth 
can convert the whisperings of conscience to thunder 
tones. When aroused in the bosom, where it has long^ 
remained dormant, the fiend of the passions shrinks in 
terror before its rebuke. 

What is man ? How various and unsatisfactory are 
the replies to this question, after the experience and in- 
vestigation of six thousand years ! From one point of 


view he is made to appear, veiled in the beautiful 
subtleties of poetry and mysticism, an angel of light ; 
and, from the other, robbed of that dignity which of 
right belongs to him, viewed only as a being of appe- 
tites and passions, he is represented as a demon incar- 
nate. We see evidences of these contradictory opinions 
of human nature in the condition of society, and, espe- 
cially, in the want of unity among men in politics, 
philosophy, and religion, and in that intense selfishness 
that marks so much of the intercourse of men and na- 
tions, and that stamps its character alike upon our social 
life and our political relations. We shall, by and by, learn 
to regard man as he really is, — a strange compound of 
good and evil, of earth and heaven, of the human and 
divine, — a being imperfect in his development, yet ca- 
pable of endless progress ; endowed with appetites and 
passions, in common with the brutes, and yet made ca- 
pable of a love that owns its affinity to angels. With 
intellect to discover and intelligence to apply the laws 
of the material world, and to make them administer to 
his happiness, yet unable to explain the principle of 
vitality, by which he is himself sustained, — endowed 
with an independent will, he seems to decide for him- 
self in whatever he does. Yet, always influenced by a 
mysterious power, he feels and knows, but cannot com- 
prehend. Strange combination of apparent incongrui- 
ties ! Such is man. Such is human nature. Yes ! he 
who is monarch of the earth, is yet an enigma to him- 



" The man that hath not music in his soul, 
And is not moved by the concord of sweet sounds, 
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils." 

There is but one universal language, one idiom, by 
which we can express those feelings, sentiments, and 
ideas common to all. This language, this idiom, is 
music. It pervades all nature. And it is this which 
seems to connect us, by a thousand mystic ties, to every 
created thing, and makes us feel, in our silent, contem- 
plative moments, a sympathetic relationship with every 
object by which we are surrounded, or with which we 
have been associated. The tree, beneath whose shade 
we played in oar childhood, why is it that we yet 
remember it 7 And why do we yet feel that between it 
and us there once existed a strange, but undefinable 
companionship? Never, amid the din and noise of the 
world, the selfishness and activity of life, can we en- 
tirely forget the music of its rustling leaves, or the 
thoughts it awakened, as it echoed, at quiet evening, 
the vesper hymn of the flowers, or answered, at noon- 
day, to the song of the rills. Why is it that we yet re- 
tain recollection of those we love, when their image no 
longer dwells in our mind ? It is the music of the voice 
divine, that can never die. For the tones of love sur- 
vive the glance of affection. O Music ! divinest of all 
the arts ! deepest of all mysteries ! In thee is embalmed 
the memory of the past, and from thee comes the hope 
of the future. Thou only revealest the coming blessed- 


ness of the race, — thou only prophesiest of universal 

The phenomena of Ught, Uke that of sound, is the 
result of innumerable vibrations. Everything in nature 
seems to be in perpetual agitation, and each, in its own 
"way, is ever chanting a gladsome strain, that blendeth 
in a common chorus, to the Maker of all. From the 
low song of the flowers, so sweet and plaintive, to the 
chorus of the spheres, so grand and majestic, there is 
perpetually ascending to the Fountain of all, a hymn 
of gratitude and praise. In this universal harmony, 
there is but one exception, — one discord. Of all cre- 
ated things, man alone mars this pgean of nature. 
Yes, " the harp of a thousand strings," made capable 
of such high music, formed for such divine strains, 
withholds its tribute to the universal harmony, or mars 
with its broken cadence. The heart of humanity, from 
which once issued such holy melodies, — where is now 
its primeval minstrelsy ? Over its broken strings sweeps 
no more the spirit of love. The fiend of selfisliness has 
broken the instrument, made by the hand of God for 
the holiest purposes ; and where erst an angel carolled, 
there shrieks a demon. 

Sad and mournful comes the dirge from him who 
should have foremost sung the gladsome song in na- 
ture's universal orchestra. O man ! must it ever be 
thus? Must thou forever sing, in broken strains, the 
requiem of thy departed joys, — of thy lost glory 7 Shall 
there gush no more from out thy heart that deep de- 
light that made thy early Eden vocal with thy praises 7 
Shall thy wondrous voice, formed for such lofty elo- 
quence, be tuned no more in unison with nature 7 Must 
thy bitter wailings never cease 7 and all thy life seem 
but a mockery 7 

MUSIC. 295 

No ! it shall not always be thus with thee, 
Thou greatest of all earth's mystery ; 
Thy noblest song is not yet sung, 
Thy highest work is not yet done. 

What the world most needs is a benefactor, — one 
who shall expound to our race the laws of harmony, 
the observance of which shall place men in true rela- 
tionship to each other and to nature. A poet or a 
prophet, whose burning words shall awaken, in the 
mighty heart of humanity, a deeper consciousness of its 
unity and its harmonies, that shall kindle once more in 
the bosom of man the flame of seraphic minstrelsy, and 
revive again those beautiful affinities that once united 
him to all intelligences. Then will music, the divinest 
of all the arts, become what it once was, the medium 
of all true thought and expression. 

There are times, when oppressed by the conceptions 
and aspirations of the soul, we striA^e in vain for utter- 
ance. There are no words that can convey our ideas. 
Then it is that we have recourse to music, for it is then 
only that we can truly understand its significance and 
power. We strive to make ourselves heard and under- 
stood, but our yearnings and our struggles meet with 
no response. The dark world is too much engrossed in 
its selfishness and sensuality. We commune only with 
the voices of the past, with the spirits of the departed. 
Are we sad and sorrowful, we crave the deep sympa- 
thy of Beethoven. If we would raise ourselves above 
this poor life, and catch a glimpse of a higher destiny, 
we listen with gratitude and admiration to Mozart and 
Haydn. There are a host of others, who come at our 
bidding, and, with their deep, impassioned strains as- 
suage our grief and elevate our joys. It is at such 
times that we cease to be conscious of that dark pall 


that, from our infancy, hath veiled from us the beauti- 
ful in earth and sky. 

From my earliest days, I have felt within me a 
striving to be free, that music can only adequately ex- 
press. A longing for a deeper sympathy,' a* closer com- 
munion with the good, the true, the beautiful. In 
childhood, those blessed and balmy days, when the 
fragrance of the flowers and the music of the birds 
thrilled my heart with deep delight, I felt within, — I 
knew not what, — a spirit, whose plaintive, earnest voice 
wept and smiled, and ever yearned for a fuller, brighter 
manifestation. 'Twas all in vain I strove to express 
its meaning. To each dear, cherished thing, around 
which affection twined, the voice within replied. It will 
not do. The spirit cried aloud for something more. 
But once, but only once, it gave me rest. O, that 
happiest hour of all my life, that deepest joy I ever 
knew ! 

The sun's last rays had kissed the verdant hill-top, 
and trailed in beauty along the evening sky. The soft 
zephyr, laden with the perfume of a thousand flowers, 
distilled its grateful incense upon all around. The 
birds had carolled their last sweet lay and gone to rest. 
A deep, delicious languor overspread all nature. At 
that holy hour, when solemn thoughts, that, like the 
stars, come forth at night to shine within the soul's se- 
rener sky, when nature everywhere seems wrapped 
in meditation deep, profound, — I wandered forth alone, 
for unto me both day and night are one. Yet, dearest 
of all time is summer eve, — for it was at such an 
hour, that I first felt the mystery of that voice divine, 
that awoke within me such unutterable delight, that 
called forth from my heart such deep response, as mu- 
sic, only, hath power to awaken. O ! if I had but 

MUSIC. 297 

fitting words to tell how all-absorbing, how uncontrolla- 
ble, was the love awakened by those dulcet tones, that 
softly trembled on the evening air. At that blessed 
hour, most blessed of all my life, when she, my Isa- 
dora, accompanied by her guitar, breathed forth this 
impassioned lay : — 

" Give me the night, the calm, beautiful night, 
When the green earth reposes in heaven's own light ; 
When the moon and the stars keep their vigils above, 
And nought is awake save the spirit of love. 

" When visions of memory visit the heart, 
Like the dreams of the past, which too soon must depart, 
And the soul fondly dwells on the scenes of delight, 
Give me the night, the calm, beautiful night. 

" Spirit of love, in yon isles of the blest, 
Where the bright and the beautiful ever have rest, 
Spread thy wings o'er the earth, now so smiling and fair, 
And breathe all thy tenderness, loveliness, there. 

" Though the tear will escape as the heart heaves a sigh, 
And thoughts, all too deep for emotion, reply, 
Yet the soul lingers still o'er the scene of delight, — 
Give me the night, the calm, beautiful night." 

She ceased; but in my soul, that, until then, had not 
known aught of companionship, there was created a 
sense of fulness and deep joy, an all-pervading con- 
sciousness that I was blessed, supremely blessed. 

Years have passed away, but memory of that hour 
shall live forever. 

My Isadora, but for thee, 

E'en doubly dark this world would be ! 

He who may never hope to gaze upon earth or sky, 
who can never behold the light of the sun, nor look 
upon the face of a friend, can only adequately appre- 
ciate the music of the human voice. To him only can 


music impart its highest dehght, and change his mid- 
night darkness to a noonday splendor. Who can esti- 
mate fully the influence of music upon the heart and 
the life ? What can do more to soften and refine the 
feelings T- to purify and elevate the whole nature? And 
why should it not exert as great a power now, as in the 
earlier ages of society 1 Why not have as much influ- 
ence upon the civilized, as the savage man? Those 
who have been the most constantly affected by it, — 
who are best capable of appreciating its effects, tell us 
that there is nothing that can so exalt and ennoble the 
moral and religious element. Who can calculate the 
influence it exerts in our churches 1 What is so well 
designed to lift the mind from earth to the contempla- 
tion of heaven ? And then, too, consider the influence 
of music upon our social feelings. There is nothing 
like the concord of sweet sounds that can so move the 
heart to noble deeds and lofty daring, and that, at the 
same time, can prompt to that spirit of kindness and 
disinterestedness that softens and beautifies our social 
intercourse. However, the power to appreciate music 
is the gift of God. Shall I not say it is one of the no- 
blest vouchsafed to man ? Blessed is he who possesses 
it, and can appreciate it. For amidst all the vicissi- 
tudes of this strange life, he has within him that which 
can sustain and cheer him. 

It is a pleasant thing to see the smiling faces of those 
around you, to look upon the speaking countenances of 
your friends, to read the burning thoughts that come 
forth in each glance of the eye. But the beautiful face 
soon becomes pale and emaciated; the eye soon loses 
its brilliancy and lustre, the form its grace, and the step 
its elasticity ; but the music of the voice can never die. 
Like the soul, it is divine and immortal. Great is his 

MUSIC. 299 

privilege for whom nature, with its myriad objects of 
beauty, has power to dehght, — who can look upon the 
green, beautiful earth, — who can gaze upon the hea- 
vens, adorned with its innumerable lights. But there 
is a yet greater boon , there is a depth in music which 
transcends all else. 

" say, is there a star above 
Like the low, sweet voice of one you love ? " 

There is no faculty I possess, with which I would not 
part, rather than relinquish the high satisfaction which 
music affords. Gladly would I open these sealed orbs, 
and look out upon the vast, magnificent universe ; but 
I would not accept so great a boon, if it must be ob- 
tained at the sacrifice of the deep delight, of the inex- 
pressible joy, of the unutterable happiness, which music 
alone can impart. 



" Every spirit builds itself a house ; and beyond its house, a ■world ; 
and beyond its world, a heaven. Know thou that the world exists for 

Man is placed upon the confines of two worlds, and is 
endowed with liberty to choose in which he will reside; 
and upon his choice depends his blessedness. The sad 
mistake of most men is, that they prefer the shadowy 
unsubstantial, and delude themselves with the belief 
that it is the only permanent. The great controversy 
between the man of thought and the man of action is 
now what it ever has been, and may be stated thus: 
" Which is the true world, and which the phenomenal 7" 
Upon our answer to this question will depend the life 
we live, or, as we have just intimated, our blessedness. 
Children and savages repose with implicit confidence 
upon the testimony of the senses ; they know only what 
they see, hear, touch, and so forth ;• but as the child ad- 
vances to manhood, and the savage to civilization, — 
so soon, indeed, as they begin to examine and analyze 
the impressions they have received from without, — do 
they experience the noble doubt which opens to them 
the only true world — " the world of thought." Thou- 
sands, indeed, live on, from the cradle to the grave, 
without ever once questioning the testimony of their 
senses, or even dreaming of the world of beauty that 
lies concealed within them; and, though daily and 
hourly admonished, as one phantom after another fades 
away, in their eager pursuit after that which they can 
never obtain, " true happiness," they never suppose 
that, like the lost traveller, they have taken the wrong 


road. Blessedness, not happiness, should be the end 
and aim of man. What I most need is not self-gratifi- 
cation ; but, on the contrary, a complete forgetfulness of 
self; or, if this be impossible, at least an entire subjec- 
tion of all that properly belongs to my personality to 
duty. The great problem which has, in all ages, occu- 
pied the minds of men, is the mystery and significance 
of life. The man of the world, the artist, the philoso- 
pher, have each, in different ways, attempted a solution. 
What is truth to the philosopher, is beauty to the artist, 
is action to the man of the world. The life we live is 
just such a one as we make. What appears to us as 
the outward world, is that, and that only, which our 
thought creates. Whatever is beautiful in nature, or 
great and heroic in action, exists only for him to whom 
it is possible. We mirror ourselves in the smiling land- 
scape, and the starry heavens ; nothing is beautiful, 
nothing truly is, until the soul has breathed upon it. 
To the ignorant, — and I mean, b}'- this term, not those 
unlearned in the schools, but those who. as yet, know 
not themselves, — a work of art, or a sublime life, is as 
unintelligible as a book, written in an unknown tongue, 
to a little child. There are two points of view from 
which life may be regarded — the sensual and the spirit- 
ual. We live either under the complete dominion of our 
senses, seeking only for their legitimate development and 
gratification, or we sustain a relation to an immaterial 
principle, to which we apply the terms mind, spirit, in- 
finite, and many other fine names. 

We are aware that there is a system which might be 
denominated a very accommodating eclecticism, which 
seeks to reconcile the sensualist and the spiritualist. 
But with this system we have at present nothing to do, 
further than to apply to it those familiar and pointed 


words, "Thou canst not serve two masters." To us 
it seems evident, that a man must either hve the hfe of 
a sensuahst, or a spirituahst ; that is to say, his thoughts 
and affections will seek for exercise and gratification 
either in the objective or the subjective world; that the 
majority of mankind live under the habitual slavery of 
the senses, is sufficiently attested by their ignorance and 
misery. To most men, the greatest misfortune which 
could befall them would be the privation of any of the 
senses. But there is in every human soul a conscious- 
ness (often, we admit, dim and indistinct) of something 
higher and nobler than that which the senses can either 
perceive or enjoy. " Yes !" there is in the depth of our 
being a still, small voice, which is ever calling us from 
the fleeting and the transitory, to the love and the con- 
templation of the good, the true, and the beautiful, within 
ourselves. It is the want of unity between the soul and 
the external world, and our ignorance of the true rela- 
tion existing between them, that constitute so much ot 
the misery of life. How little does the material world 
with its manifold but transient enjoyments, respond to 
the deep yearnings of the immortal soul ! The sensu- 
alist, impelled by self-love, toils unceasingly, that he 
may realize his highest conceptions of happiness ; he 
builds his palace, lays out his gardens, adorns them with 
statuary, surrounds himself with whatever he fondly 
fancies will minister to his gratification ; and if he suc- 
ceeds, has his object been accomplished 1 In gratifying 
his senses and his taste, has he attained the highest good 
he craved? "Assuredly not;" he will exclaim, as did 
the wise Hebrew, "All is vanity ! " No one can free 
himself entirely from the innate consciousness that he 
has an immortal nature, which the outward world can- 
not satisfy. The materialist, whose faith and love seeks 


gratification through the senses, and sneers at the sug- 
gestion of the ideahst, that the only true life is the 
spiritual, is still compelled to feel, that which he 
practicall}^ denies, the yearning of the restless soul, that 
nothing will satisfy. 'Tis all in vain that he seeks for 
repose upon the traditions of the ages or the formulas of 
men : these were only designed for helps, — they can be 
nothing more. To the man whose constant life is in the 
outward and apparent, whose thoughts dwell habitually 
upon the transient objects of sense, nothing can be more 
appalling than the idea of death ; yet it is forced upon 
his attention by all he sees in nature : by all the vicissi- 
tudes of the life he lives ; to him death is indeed a 
change from the knoimi to the unknown. There are 
two ways in which he seeks for solace. He regards, or 
pretends to regard, death as a total annihilation ; or he 
pictures to his imagination a sensual heaven, which is 
nothing more than this world, with all its grossness, ele- 
vated to the skies. But, to the spiritualist, life has a 
deeper meaning, a profounder significance ; to him death 
is but the absence of true life ; for him there is no time, 
— all is eternity ; he needs no ingenious arguments, no 
balancing of probabilities, to assure him of immortality ; 
for the life he lives is unchanging and eternal. What 
passes before his senses is but the creation of his own 
thought; when his material body has accomplished its 
purpose, his soul will create for itself another. His 
heaven is perpetual blessedness — his life is unending 



The other day I visited my native town, after an 
absence of many years. Yery cordial and sincere were 
the greetings of those that yet remain of my associates 
in early life. But time had wrought great changes in 
the home of my childhood. Many an object once fa- 
miliar to my touch, many a friend ever dear to my 
heart, was gone; the tree beneath whose shade I was 
wont to sit, and wonder why the blessed sunlight, which 
shone so kindly upon all, should be denied to me, — the 
rock by the sea-side, I had so often climbed, that I might 
hear the rippling wave, the dashing spray, — has been 
removed. It may be by the action of the elements, but 
more probably to suit the caprice or convenience of 

And where, too, is the youth whose noble bearing and 
kindly heart made him the favorite of all? In early 
manhood he embarked on board a ship, to visit other 
climes, and was never heard of more. Where is the 
maiden, whose graceful form and sunny brow, — whose 
sweet young face and bright blue eye , — made her the 
idol of her parents and the pride of all who knew her ? 
Very brief and sad is her story. The pretty girl be- 
came the beautiful woman ; loved with all the intensity 
of her noble nature, was deceived, betrayed, and died of 
a broken heart. 

But there is one place ever dear to my memory — one ■ 
Httle spot of earth, to which, in anxious manhood, my 
thoughts have often returned Avith a kind of tender sor- 
sow. 'Tis the grave of my mother. Thither I repaired 

MY mother's grave. 305 

at the close of day ; and though I saw not the hght of 
the setting sun, 1 felt upon my heart the dreamy, quiet, 
holy influence of the twilight hour. Once more I stood 
where, five and twenty years ago, we laid the form of 
my venerated mother. The events of a quarter of a 
century seemed crowded into a moment. It is not strange 
that one for whom the material world has but few 
charms should find a kind of melancholy pleasure in 
dwelling upon the only being he ever saw. Often, very 
often, have I endeavored to recall to my mind the form 
and face of her on whom I first gazed. And long since 
have I fancied I have done so. And now, in my silent, 
contemplative moments, I see before my mind's eye a 
form, not graceful, but fragile ; a face, not beautiful, but 
serene and thoughtful ; an eye, not brilliant, but tender 
and tearful. But that low, sorrowful voice, I can only 
recall when, in moments of high enthusiasm, I fancy I 
hear the whispering of angels. Around this ideal image 
cluster many holy memories, and upon it hang, as it 
were, all my highest conceptions and noblest thoughts 
of a brighter world and a better life. And now, after 
so many years have elapsed, I find myself again beside 
my mother's grave, gladly forgetting the poor experience 
of life, that I may dwell more intently upon her love. 
When on that day the hand of destiny veiled from these 
eyes the blessed sunlight, and the dearest thing it re- 
vealed, her serene and thoughtful countenance, with 
many tears she pressed me to her heart, sadly exclaim- 
ing, — " My poor boy is blind ! Who will take care of 
him when I am gone?" And when she knew that she 
must die, placing her hand upon my head, she invoked 
the blessing of Him, who, though His ways be myste- 
rious, doeth all things well. O, my mother ! how often 
in the hours of sorrow, when forsaken by friends, as- 


sailed by calumny, or tempted by vsin, have I turned 
aside that I might weep and pray, and think of thee^y^ 
was never haunted with dreams of greatness. Ambition 
rarely fires the blind man's heart. He knows full well 
that the misfortune that distinguishes him from his fel- 
lows limits his sphere of activity and usefulness, and 
renders possible for him only what is possible for all — 
a purer life. May I go on the even tenor of my way, 
and when my life on earth is ended, oh, grant me but 
this boon, a place to rest beside my mother's grave ! 

Reader ! hast thou a mother 7 Love and cherish her, 
for she is of more worth to thee than all the world 
besides. Is her spirit in heaven 7 Go often and stand 
beside her grave, and meditate upon her virtues, and it 
shall do thee good. 


' A HINT. 

Nothing is more natural and praiseworthy than the 
desire to console those who are deprived of any blessing 
which we enjoy ; but the means employed are often of a 
very doubtful nature. For instance, when we tell one, 
who by some sudden misfortune has been deprived of the 
wealth he has labored for years to accumulate, that his 
condition is no worse than the majority of mankind, — 
or, when we say to the man who has been bereft of the 
use of a leg, or an arm, that the other has become 
strengthened thereby, — we administer a very poor and 
inadequate consolation. A friend once said to me, by 
way of making the want of sight more tolerable, that if 
I had not been blind, I might probably have been hung; 
and this may have been true. Still, if I could have had 
my choice, I think I would have risked my neck for my 
eyes. We have no faith in this philosophy of compen- 
sation. Say to the child of misfortune, it is the will of 
God, and you have said all. Reader, dost thou sympa- 
thize with me ? — I will tell thee a way to manifest thy 
sympathy. Purchase a copy of my book, and if there 
be compensation for the want of sight in the cultivation 
of the mind, you will enable me to obtain it. 



We have had occasion, in one or two former articles 
to speak of the character of the present age, and the 
pecuharities of society as it now exists, especially in our 
own country. Though not enjoying the means of such 
extended observation as many others possess, we have 
still, however, employed all the resources at our dis- 
posal, in the study of human character and human 
society ; or man as an individual, and man in the ag- 
gregate. And it must, we think, be admitted, that 
nothing is so worthy of careful study, deep thought, and 
profound contemplation. The majestic past, big with 
events and vicissitudes, affecting alike the destiny of the 
individual and of society, — the present, with its cease- 
less agitations, and ever-shifting scenes, — the unex- 
plored future, where the imagination loves to revel, 
and picture better and brighter things for man than he 
has ever yet realized, — all this is eminently fitted to 
stimulate the intellect to its utmost capacity, and en- 
gage the warmest affections and liveliest sensibility of 
the heart. We, of the present generation, are passing 
through a transition state, prepared by that Avhich has 
gone before, — we are, to a great extent, contributing to 
the character of that which is to come after us. The 
present, then, is the field of our operations, the theatre 
of our actions ; and it is what is now going on around 
us that most claims our undivided attention, and it is 
this that will constitute the subject of our present arti- 

As every individual life is, to some extent, the niinia- 


ture or fac-simile of the life of society, so a great nation, 
like our own, in its social and political relations, may 
be considered as a type of the world. Whatever, there- 
fore, are the peculiarities and events which, at the pres- 
ent moment, are in operation in this country, and which 
are effecting the intellectual and moral development of 
man, and forming or influencing the character of socie- 
ty, they are under various aspects, subjected, of course, 
to innumerable modifying circumstances, pervading 
every civilized country upon the globe. So that we have 
but to look around us, and carefully observe all that is 
going on within the sphere of our observation, to have a 
pretty fair idea of the condition of society and the state 
of the world. The most striking fact which every- 
where presents itself at the present day, is the transition 
state of society, and the unsettled character of our social 
institutions. Progress is not less a law of the nature of 
man, than of that social compact, that binds men to- 
gether by so many indissoluble ties. Change, then, 
better than any other word, expresses the great idea of 
our times. For human thought and human action, 
there is, so to speak, no inertia. All is movement, ac- 
tivity, advancement. And this character, this pecu- 
liarity, is impressed not merely upon man, but upon all 
those institutions which, for a time, supply his wants, 
and administer to his development. And this has formed 
in every country and every age, the dominant phase of 
those successive stages, through which the human race 
has passed in attaining to its present state of civinza- 
tion. It is this element, this great principle, which has 
been at the bottom of all those mighty revolutions 
which in every age, and especially in modern times, have 
exerted such a controlling, such an all-pervading influ- 
ence in human affairs. It was this that lay at the hot- 


torn of the Reformation in the sixteenth century, and 
that caused the Enghsh revohition in the century fol- 
lowing, and that finally set in operation those remarka- 
ble events that dethroned the Bourbons, and made 
France, for a time at least, a republic. And it is, as 
we have already observed, this all-pervading desire for 
change to which our country is indebted for her present 
social and political advancement. But to deal no more 
in generalization, let us examine more minutely than 
we have yet done the condition of that state of society 
in the midst of which we are placed, and of which we 
form a part. One thing is very observable in the con- 
dition of our country at the present moment. There is 
a greater amount of activity among the masses, than 
was ever displayed at any former period. Individual 
minds no longer exert such a controlling power in the 
government. We have as many great men now as at 
any former time. But they no longer possess that influ- 
ence in the councils of the nation. The general intelli- 
gence of the people, the facility with which knowledge 
is now acquired upon almost every subject, has pro- 
duced a greater intellectual equality than has ever ex- 
isted before. The laborer and the artisan share with 
the jurist in making the laws and legislating for the 
country. Every situation in the state is open alike to 
all. The ambition and intelligence of every individual 
is thus stimulated and excited, to a degree without a 
parallel in the history of the world. Nowhere but in 
this country do the laws so fully express the will of the 
majority. Nowhere does the government confer greater 
blessings upon the governed. But notwithstanding the 
superiority of our political institutions, there exist here 
the same social evils in embryo that have manifested 
themselves in older countries. The equality, of which 


wc SO proudly boast, is all political. The same differ- 
ences, the same castes, have manifested themselves 
among us that form the chief curse of European soci- 
ety. We have our aristocrats, who make up for the 
want of a title, in their pompous demeanor, costly equi- 
page, &c. A million obtains as much consideration, as 
much servility in the United States, as my lord does 
in England. It is surprising to observe what an im- 
mense influence wealth exerts in this country upon all 
classes. It is the standard, in too many instances, by 
which worth is measured. It creates, on the one hand, 
and in one portion of society, a haughtiness and arro- 
gance, that vie with the lofty pretensions of the titled 
aristocrats of the most despotic coimtry in the world, — 
while in the poor it excites a superciliousness, a degrad- 
ing demeanor, truly pitiable to witness, and which is 
by no means in keeping with that political equality of 
which we have spoken. We have not time to speak 
of all the physical and moral evils that wealth engen- 
ders. They must, we fear, always continue to exist 
until the unnatural relations between labor and capital 
are greatly changed. There is some truth in the charge 
that we are a nation of apes. We have grown tired of 
our republican simplicity, — we no longer possess the 
stern virtues of our fathers. The rich copy the fashions 
and habits of the higher classes of Europe, and the poor, 
with a sickening exactness, copy the rich. Thus all 
classes become enervated, by the silly and ridiculous 
attempt to transplant, so to speak, the usages and cus- 
toms of the corrupt society of the old world. There is 
3^et another peculiarity, which is equally lamentable, 
that may be said to form one of the characteristics of 
Americans. We refer to that ridiculous sensitiveness 
which is so often manifested to the opinions of foreign- 


ers. As a people, we cannot endure criticism. Like 
the Chinese, we are accustomed to regard and to speak 
of our country as the best in the world. Hence, the 
pubhc anxiety, so often manifested when we are visited 
by some traveller from Europe, to make him think as 
highly of our country as we do ourselves. We have 
sometimes paid dearly for this. One would think, on 
reading Dickens' Notes, that he was feasted in our cities 
to little purpose. Who could expect a man to give any- 
thing like a philosophic account of our institutions, 
when his stay among us had been only for a period of 
about six months. English tourists have usually, with 
some few exceptions, imitated the example of Mrs. Trol- 
lope, in caricaturing us. There is no trait which has 
excited this ridicule more than our ridiculous fondness 
for whatever is foreign. We do not even pass a law, oi 
decide upon any great governmental measure, without 
asking what effect it will have in England or France, 
No one can acquire among us a very great celebrity 
m any of the fine arts without spending some years in 
Italy. Indeed, it is beginning to be thought, among the 
higher classes in this country, that their children caimot 
be thoroughly educated until they have spent a year or 
two in one of the European schools. A young man, as 
soon as he has passed his minority, if he is desirous of 
seeing the world, instead of becoming acquainted with 
his own country, prefers to pass a few years in observ- 
ing the workings of society in the European capitals. 
And when at length he returns to his own country, he 
is shocked with the coarseness of plain republican life. 
It has been said, that the American, in common with 
the English, are the most gullible people upon earth. , 
If a foreigner comes among us, claiming to be physician 
to the King of the French, or pianist to his most Chris- 



tian majesty, the whole country is thrown into a state 
f excitement. All are for availing themselves of the 
skill of the doctor, or to listen, with raptures of course, to 
the performances of the professor. After these wonders 
have succeeded in obtaining all that they wanted, — a 
round hundred thousand, — they go home, and at their 
leisure laugh at our simplicity. However, it is with 
the nation as with the individual, — experience is the 
best teacher. We shall, I trust, soon learn to place a 
higher value upon the advantages we really enjoy, and 
at the same time be less sensitive as to the light in 
which we are regarded by foreigners. There is one fact 
which cannot be denied : there is no country upon the 
earth where the millions are better provided for, better 
fed, and clothed, than in the United States. And no- 
where is general intelligence more widely diffused. 
There exists, it is true, despite our political equality, 
the great social differences of which we have spoken as 
being produced by the unnatural relations that exist 
between labor and capital. But we hope it will not 
lead to such deplorable consequences as it has in older 
countries. Indeed, it is impossible for wealth to accu- 
mulate in the same hands and to so great an extent 
here as in England and France, for example. Property 
and wealth, of all kinds, is subjected to great changes 
and vicissitudes among us. And this leads to a greater 
generalization, to a more frequent distribution among 
all classes, and this is always the case when govern- 
ment never arbitrarily interferes with the natural order 
of things. 

It is almost always found to be the case in this coun- 
try, that the same family rarely retain their wealtli 
longer than three generations. You will often find the 
grandchildren of rich men to be poor. There is another 


characteristic of American society which we must not 
omit here. We have aheady referred to the great, the 
almost unprecedented, intellectual activity among us. 
The American and the English people are not so re- 
markable for deep thinking as for great and magnifi- 
cent actions. Common sense is something of which the 
Anglo-Saxon race may proudly boast. Still, it is not 
difficult to observe the tendency of the American mind 
to speculation. We are beginning to deal largely in 
abstractions. Action, prompt and efficient action, no 
longer succeeds thought, as it was wont to do. We can 
plan a revolution as well as our fathers, but we cannot 
accomplish it. We can invent a theory or hypothesis 
of society, but we cannot achieve its actualization. 
How many beautiful ideas are put forth at the present 
day, — how many fine-spun theories are invented, — in 
short, how many admirable things are merely said and 
written ! There is, we repeat it, great intellectual ac- 
tivity manifested among us, but it seems to be divorced 
from physical power. They no longer act in harmony, 
as they were wont to do, in the accomplishment of 
those great revolutions that have done so much for the 
advancement of human society. And hence it forms 
one of the peculiarities of our age, that we attempt 
much more than we accomplish, — we think much 
more than we do. One would naturally suppose, on 
reading many of the publications of the present day, 
and the striking delineations they contain of the ad- 
vancement of human society, that we had well nigh 
reached social perfection. But when we look around us, 
— when we go forth into the busy world, — when we ex- 
amine man as we everywhere find him, — we are then 
satisfied that the description we have read is but a 
b(?autiful dream of a fond enthusiast. We have time 


only to mention one more of the characteristics of 
American society; and it is the saddest one of all to 
which we have referred. It is the predominance of the 
physical and the intellectual over the moral element. 
Society, as yet, has no conscience, or, if it has, it is, as 
we often find it in the mdividual, dormant. How much 
labor is expended in obtaining mere physical enjoyment ! 
How many sacrifices are made for mere intellectual 
gratification ! But how little has yet been done, either 
by man or by society, to develop the moral element, or 
to cultivate the moral principle. Society often punishes 
crimes in individuals which she perpetrates herself 
without any compunctions. How little abhorrence has 
repudiation excited in this country ! But few remon- 
strated against the perfidy we displayed in our inter- 
course with the aborigines. And does not this indicate 
the want of a healthy, of a more moral tone in society 1 
Consider, too, the war in which we are now engaged, 
and the real purpose for which it was instituted, and 
deny, if you can, that, though we have developed our 
physical resources, and cultivated the national intellect, 
yet have we mournfully retrograded from that high 
moral position that distinguished us in the infancy of 
the republic. In a moral respect, indeed, how little do 
we differ from other countries ! The same desire of ag- 
grandizement, regardless of consequences, that has so 
often impelled other nations, seems also to anmiate us. 
The same inevitable consequences will certainly fol- 
low, no matter what may be our particular form of gov- 
ernment, if we adhere to and act upon the false maxim 
that might is right; if we acknowledge, in our deal- 
ings, a degrading expediency, we must expect to share 
the fate of other republics, — have a brief existence, a 
poor and imperfect development, and have it said of 


US, as it was of them, that republicanism was a misera- 
ble failure. 

Thus have we spoken of American government and of 
American society. We have touched upon many sub- 
jects, each of which is sufficient, of itself, for an entire 
article. But believing that many of our readers are 
better acquainted with the subject than we are, the 
most that we have ventured to do is to make a few con- 
cise observations upon those evils so prominent as not to 
have escaped the notice of the most unobserving. We 
hope and believe that they will yet find a corrective. Not- 
withstanding all her faults, we love our native country. 
We have not yet subscribed to that sentiment, that has 
become so prevalent of late, that patriotism is incom- 
patible with philanthropy. Neither do we feel inclined 
to indulge in that excessive adulation, by which so many 
labor to prove their attachment to the republic. No ; 
we think it is wiser and better to prove our patriotism, 
by doing all we can to correct the evils and guard our 
country from the dangers to which she is exposed. This 
is what we have endeavored to do in the present imper- 
fectly-written article. Let those who have it in their 
power, effect more,— be up and doing. 



The religious element is the strongest of our nature. 
It manifests itself, with more or less power, at every pe^ 
riod of our existence, at every stage of our advancement 
in life. In the savage as weU as in the civilized man, 
there is this craving for something higher, — this long- 
ing after a more perfect communion, a purer joy, a di- 
viner life, than can ever be attained upon the earth. 
Sometimes this wonderful principle seeks for gratifica- 
tion in the various forms and images of beauty which 
the external world presents. But, disappointed, it 
again falls back upon the soul. It soars to the Sitars ; it 
wanders everywhere, but finds rest nowhere. It is this 
feeling that never becomes extinct in the most degraded 
human being, and which the most perfect life we are 
capable of here cannot satisfy, that seems to unite us 
with the angels and to God. It is interesting to witness 
the earnest but too often ineffectual attempt of mankind, 
in every age, to gratify this longing, this highest aspira- 
tion of our common nature. It is melancholy to behold 
the sufferings of our race, that have marked its progress, 
from the lowest to the highest degree of development it 
has yet attained in civilization. But the sad mistakes 
of mankind, — the faults they have everywhere mani- 
fested, and with which the history of the world is full, 
— the perverted manner in which they have so often 
sought to manifest and gratify the religious element, 
present a far more deplorable and gloomy picture. The 
false religions that have existed in every age, through 
which man has so often vainly striven to satisfy the 


cravings of that divine instinct which, amid all his 
degradation, has preserved within him a desire for a 
better life, constitutes the most interesting, and yet the 
darkest passage of his history. Idolatry, in all its 
forms, presents the melancholy spectacle of men labor- 
ing in vain to give utterance to their consciousness of 
the existence of Him, who is alone entitled to the 
homage of all hearts. Nowhere has man been able en- 
tirely to free himself from the idea of God. And yet, 
nowhere, without the aid of revelation, has he been 
able to express it. Formed for worship, yet for the 
most part ignorant of the object alone entitled to adora- 
tion, he has often made a deity of himself, or, worse 
than this, he has bowed down to inferior natures. 
The Greeks and the Romans, with their imposing my- 
thology, — Asia and Africa, with their degrading rites 
and mournful superstitions, show us how often and how 
earnestly man has labored to gratify the highest want 
of his nature, and to restore himself to that state of in- 
nocence, and to that heaven from which he had fallen. 
The Pantheon, with its gods and its demi-gods, crea- 
tures of passion and of fancy, how little is there in the 
idea they were intended to embody, akin to that lofty 
conception, of the only living and true God, which the 
Bible presents. How degraded were the Greeks in 
their most advanced state of civilization, and what a 
striking proof did they afford of the inability of man, 
unaided, to discover the true God through what is 
called natural religion. The teachings of the most- 
enlightened philosophers of antiquity, not excepting 
Socrates, the greatest moralist the heathen world pro- 
duced, fall far short of the morality of Judaism, to say 
nothing of that contained in the precepts of Christ. 
Comparisons are instituted and analogies are drawn by 


the philosophers of our day, between the systems of 
Plato, Confucius, Zoroaster, and the rehgion of the 
New Testament. We sometimes hear it said that Jesus 
Christ embodied in his precepts ideas contained in the 
maxims of the sages of the heathen world. But the 
superiority consists in that he lived out what he taught. 
He actualized what before had been but mere abstrac- 
tions. The central idea of Christianity is, a pure life, 
— the offspring of a divine faith. Such a life, such a 
faith as man had never before conceived. 

We admire the system of Zoroaster; it was vastly 
superior to anything the Persians had known before. 
We cheerfully accord our admiration to the philosophy 
of Confucius, and to the beneficent moral influence it 
exerted upon his countrymen. His system was based 
upon obedience of the child to the parent, of the citizen 
to the state. It is sometimes claimed that he was the 
first that uttered the maxim, "Do unto others as ye 
would that others should do unto you." The form, 
however, in which he inculcated it, was different, — it 
was negative, — "Thou shalt wo^ do unto others what 
thou wouldst not have others do unto thee." Although 
he lived, considering his time, a remarkably pure life, 
yet his example came far short of Christ, if, indeed, it 
be not impious to compare them at all. Christianity, 
when compared as a whole, with any or all of the sys- 
tems of philosophy or religion that have ever been pro- 
mulgated, infinitely transcends them in its adaptation to 
the wants and necessities of man. All that is beautiful 
in the mysticism of Plato, all that is excellent in the 
maxims of Confucius and Zoroaster, it contains ; but it 
has something more, — something which they could 
never obtain, — the impress of heaven, the signet of 


The maxims which they inculcated were calculated 
to act merely upon man's outward life, — to make him 
a truer friend, a better citizen. Christianity, while it 
does not neglect this, goes beyond it. It purifies the 
heart, and reveals a higher life beyond the grave. It 
belongs to no country ; it was designed for no one pecu- 
liar nation. It proclaims the universal brotherhood of 
man, the equality of the race. There is another respect 
in which it differs from all other systems. It does not 
voluntarily ally itself with physical power. It has re- 
vealed to man a mightier force, a more potent agency. 
It has declared love to be the only true principle of ac- 
tion. It is upon this alone that it relies for its ascen- 
dency. It is in this that we discover the secret of its 
influence upon the lives and the hearts of men. Love, 
it declares, is the essence of God, who is the Father of 
all. And it is through the agency of this mighty prin- 
ciple, that it would regenerate the children of earth and 
make them heirs of heaven. There is yet another re- 
spect in which we can see the superiority of Christianity 
over all other systems. It is in the comprehensive view 
it takes of man. It seeks his elevation, by first purify- 
ing the heart, and then by regulating and controlling his 
actions. It is adapted to him in every state of develop- 
ment, in every situation of life. It meets all the wants 
of the ignorant and the learned. From its pure fountain 
all can drink and be satisfied. Christianity, wherever 
it has established itself, has elevated and ennobled man. 
And it has always been most successful, when least 
it has relied upon human instrumentality. Its greatest 
victories, unlike those of all other religions, have been 
achieved, not upon the battle-field, and by the blood of 
conquered millions, but upon the degraded and sinful 


heart ; fitting it for the great battle of life, whose vic- 
tory is only achieved when heaven is obtained. 

Nothing is more wonderful than the manner in which 
the Christian religion gained its ascendency in the 
world, supplanting everywhere idolatry, by its own 
moral power and intrinsic loveliness, and redeeming the 
human race from the terrible dominion of dark and de- 
grading superstitions. At a time when the world was 
shrouded in darkness and in ignorance, and man led only 
by the feeble and inefficient light of human philosophy, 
or degraded by the appetites and passions of his corrupt 
heart, there appeared, in an obscure corner of the earth, 
among a people remarkable for nothing so much as 
their exclusiveness and isolation from the rest of man- 
kind, one who was distinguished from his fellows by 
the beauty and simplicity of his daily life. He associ- 
ated not with the wise and the great, but, on the con- 
trary, chose his companions from the poor, the neglect- 
ed, the despised. His disciples were a few unlettered 
fishermen, who followed him around from place to 
place, listening with eagerness to the words that fell 
from his lips, "For he spake as never man spake." He 
taught not in the academy or the lyceum, but in the 
market-place and by the way-side. His auditors were 
the ignorant and the oppressed multitude, into whose 
earnest hearts his words fell as manna from heaven. 
The beauty of his daily life transcended that of the 
greatest of the prophets ; and the deep compassion of 
his sympathetic heart was manifested in his every act. 
For three years this wonderful being went about doing 
good, — healing the sick, restoring the blind to sight, 
and even raising the dead. All were astonished at the 
manner in v/hich he taught. But at length his opposi- 
tion to wrong and oppression of every kind, created for 


him many enemies, and they sought to put him to 
death. They soon succeeded in accomphshing their 
object. The humble Nazarene, the meek and lowly 
Jesus, died upon the Cross. The few unlettered fisher- 
men whom he had instructed went forth unarmed, save 
by the power of truth, to convert and enlighten the 
world. And, strange to say, they confounded with 
their heavenly wisdom, the learned Jew and philosophic 
Greek. Driven from city to city, these wonderful men, 
whom no persecution could overcome, proclaimed the 
gospel of good news to a degraded world. They lived 
to see the prediction of their Master verified in the de- 
struction of Jerusalem by the Roman army. At length, 
one by one, this heroic band of apostles sealed with 
their blood their devotion to truth. Meantime, the new 
religion which had been proclaimed by them, still con- 
tinued to gain new conquests. Two centuries had 
scarcely passed away, when, strange to relate, that 
power which had conquered every other until it pro- 
claimed itself mistress of the world, — Rome, imperial 
Rome, — became, in its turn, conquered by the religion 
of the Prince of Peace. From the conversion of Con- 
stantine to this day, Christianity has exerted a predomi- 
nant influence in elevating the condition of mankind. 
When the Northern barbarians overran the Roman em- 
pire, trampling upon and scattering the monuments of 
its former greatness, they found one institution which 
they could not overthrow, but which was destined, in 
process of time, to subject them to its dominion. Dur- 
ing the dark ages, the Christian church contained within 
itself whatever of value in literature or art that had 
survived the devastating influence of those barbarous 

It is not easy to conjecture what would now be the 


condition of Europe, and the whole civilized world, 
if there had not existed in the midst of society an insti- 
tution strong enough to control the turbulent passions 
of men, at a time when human laws were powerless, 
and human governments existed only in name. It is 
difficult to form a correct opinion of the character of the 
nations of Europe, during the long period that elapsed, 
from the overthrow of ancient to the commencement 
of modern civilization. We know enough, however, to 
feel assured that, but for the influence of Christianity, 
they would have remained in a state of barbarism 
for a much longer time. Of the wonders Christianity 
has wrought in modern times, we need not speak. Of 
the share it has taken in modern civilization, of the 
blessings it has conferred upon every class of society, 
we need say nothing. Whatever may be the advan- 
tages that we at the present time enjoy of social im- 
provement, or of individual progress, are to be attributed 
to the ameliorating influence of Christianity. To it 
also must be ascribed all those benevolent institutions 
that form the chief characteristic of our day, and that 
extend their benign influence to the poor, the benighted, 
the unfortunate, wherever they may exist. Yes ; all 
that we have attained as individuals, all the blessings 
we have derived from society, are the oflspring of our 
holy religion. And more than this; it is to it alone 
that we can look for the complete annihilation of those 
evils that still afflict the world. It was the philan- 
thropic element that was most predominant in the 
character of Christ ; and it is this that forms the chief 
characteristic of his religion. Wherever it has been 
promulgated in its purity, it has always made men 
better and happier. This is its great object, — to re- 
deem the human family, and to restore man to the 


favor of his heavenly Father. Slowly it may be, but 
surely, it will accomplish its object. Already, me- 
thinks, I hear the Angel of the Future announce its ap- 
proach, and the hallelujahs of redeemed millions pro- 
claiming its final success. Soon shall this be a glorious 
reality. Soon shall that for which the good of every 
age have so long prayed, be realized, — " Thy kingdom 
come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in 

The general desire which is now everyAvhere mani- 
fested, to correct time-honored abuses, and eradicate 
those evils that still afflict human society and degrade 
the individual, can only be accomplished by the agency 
of that religion which has alone proved adequate in every 
emergency. Already we have witnessed the influence 
it has exerted in all the great philanthropic eflbrts of 
the day. Christianity is truly reformatory. He who 
denies this, knows but little of its spirit. Progress is 
one of the essential conditions of the Christian life. 
And he who knows anything of its power must be 
conscious of this; for it is one of its essential facts. 
What a contrast does the gradual change, effected by 
Christianity, in the condition of mankind, present to 
those sudden but transient revolutions brought about 
by man, impelled by generous but poorly-regulated 
impulses, to the attainment of the same great object. 
It must, however, be borne in mind, that we are speak- 
ing of the Christianity of Christ, and not that which 
passes for it, but which is its counterfeit. We have no 
sympathy with those religionists who are so far ele- 
vated above the world, as to feel little or no interest m 
the welfare of their fellow-men. We have said it, and 
we repeat it, that Christianity is reformatory. Steadily 
and firmly it is advancing to the accomplishment of its 


object, — the regeneration of man. Yes; this world of 
antagonisms shall again be blessed with unity, and 
men so long estranged from each other shall taste the 
sweets of harmony. Then will the vision of the 
prophet become a glorious reality, and there shall be a 
new heaven and a new earth. 



We sometimes hear it said that the spirit of chivalry 
has fled the earth ; that man is no longer animated by 
those sublime and lofty sentiments, that, in the middle 
ages, prompted to such deeds of noble daring. The 
poets complain that we have no heroes at the present 
day, that we have become sordid and selfish, and that 
our elevated and noble sentiments are compelled to 
give place to utilitarianism and selfishness. There 
may be in this some truth. It is quite possible that 
we are less influenced, at the present day, by the won- 
derful and extraordinary, and are more inclined to 
the practical and attainable; or, in other words, we are 
now governed more by common sense, and less suscep- 
tible of the influence of the imagination. The differ- 
ent elements of our nature have, each in their turn, 
exerted a preponderating influence upon human life. 
In the present age, the desire for the real, the substan- 
tial, the practical, is in the ascendant; but it must not 
therefore be inferred that imagination, the love of the 
beautiful, the heroic in human actions, has died out, or 
has ceased to animate man ; though the circumstances 
in which we are placed, and the advanced state of 
human society, may have combined to give it a difl'er- 
ent direction than that which it received in the mid- 
dle ages. In the twelfth century, for instance, the 
crusades, or the holy wars, as they were called, aff'ord- 
ed all classes of Christendom a rare opportunity for the 
display of the heroic element. The religious principle, 
through the imagination, was excited to a degree of 


activity it had never before attained. And it gave 
rise, at this period, to those great achievements, which, 
when viewed at the present day, bewilder and astonish 
us. Tliere is, without doubt, in the chivalry to which 
feudalism gave rise, something which at first sight 
seems grand and imposing. But the more attentively 
we examine it, — the more carefully we investigate the 
causes that originated it, and the principle by which it 
was sustained, — the admiration and enthusiasm which 
are first awakened, give place to abhorrence, and even 
disgust ; for there never was a period when human 
society was more degraded than during the feudal age. 
The nobility, the lords of the soil, alone enjoyed any 
degree of personal liberty. The mass of the people, the 
serfs, were doomed to all the horrors of a savage life, 
without any of its advantages. Nothing can be more 
gloomy than the spectacle which they presented. De- 
prived of all their natural rights, under the absolute and 
unlimited control of the lord of the fief, and the no less 
galling despotism of a corrupt priesthood, they had but, 
at most, a mere animal existence, and were but a little 
elevated above the condition of the brute. Such was 
the condition of a large portion of European society, at 
that period which has been denominated, by way of 
preeminence, the glorious age of chivalry. There 
was something in the isolated life of the feudal no- 
bility, and in the exalted sentiments of personal liberty 
to which it gave rise, which is, at first, calculated to 
excite our admiration. But when we look more closely, 
we find the heroism they so often displayed, and which 
has enkindled, in later times, the enthusiasm of the 
novelist, and inflamed the imagination of the poet, was 
but little superior to that which has been so often mani- 
fested by the aborigines of our own country. Osceola 


would compare well with any of the most adventurous 
spirits of the tenth or twelfth century. There is some- 
thing captivating, to the romantic and susceptible mind, 
in the imposing display of the feudal lord, clad in the 
armor of war, issuing forth from his castle, followed 
by his vassals, to give battle to some neighboring and 
rival chieftain. But the moment we examine more 
closely into the life he led, and the abject condition of 
his vassals, disgust and pity take the place of every 
other, sentiment. Of all the vicissitudes to which man- 
kind have been subjected, that to which they were 
doomed in the middle ages is truly the most appalling. 
However, there is no state through which human soci- 
ety has passed, that may not be said to have some 
peculiar advantage. That of the feudal ages seems 
to be. that it greatly favored the cultivation of the 
domestic relations. Woman acquired an influence and 
consideration, at that period, which she never before 
possessed. And it is this, probably, that has made so 
many overlook the enormous evils to which feudal 
institutions and customs gave rise. We need only 
study them attentively to become convinced that the 
age in which they existed forms the darkest epoch in 
the history of the world; for at no other period had 
the few acquired such an absolute control over the 
many ; at no time had right been so completely subju- 
gated by might. Tear from chivalry the glossy dra- 
pery with which poetry has veiled it,— you will then see 
it in all its deformity ; a thing of beauty becomes a 
hideous monster. We find that that which we had so 
much admired, which has been so often applauded as 
the heroic period, as the age of poetry and minstrelsy, 
was based and maintained upon the ascendency of 
brute force over the rights and souls of men ; so that, 


that which at first appears the brightest, forms, in 
reaUty, the darkest passage in the history of the race. 
If we would look for true heroism, we must search the 
annals of a later period. We must read the history of 
the sixteenth, seventeeth, and eighteenth centuries; 
when degraded and crushed humanity rose in its 
might, shaking off at first the despotism of a corrupt 
church, and afterwards freeing itself from political 
tyranny, it boldly asserted its freedom and maintained 
its rights, and taught the tyrants in church and state, 
a lesson they will never forget. The world has not 
yet recognized its heroes, its noblest benefactors; those 
who toiled and died in the cause of their race. When 
it does so, it will rank among the foremost, the re- 
formers, the philosophers, and the philanthropists of 
the last three centuries, — Lnther, Melancthon, Descar- 
tes, Bacon, Wilberforce and Channing; — these are the 
heroes of history, the champions of the race, who, by 
their splendid lives, eclipse the exploits of the most 
chivalrous adventurers of the middle ages. Let it not, 
then, be said that the heroic ages have past ; they 
have but just commenced. The present is as well 
fitted to excite the spirit of chivalry as at any former 
period. The theatre for the display of true courage 
and noble daring, is broader now than ever before. 
No longer is bravery displayed in the predatory excur- 
sions of half-savage chieftains. True glory is no more 
sought for on the field of blood and carnage. It has a 
higher purpose, and a wider range. It seeks to display 
itself upon the broad battle-field of life. Its high object 
is the amelioration of man, the advancement of the 
race. The fierce struggle is between man and that 
which has in all ages degraded him ; between knowl- 
edge and ignorance, liberty and oppression. The 


bugle and the clarion summon no more the lord of 
the castle to the fierce conflict of death. But the mild- 
toned philanthropist is everywhere pleading with ear- 
nest sincerity, the cause of his brother man. The sword 
and the spear, and the other dread implements of bru- 
tal warfare, are beginning to give place to the omnipo- 
tent power of all-conquering love. The present, then, 
is but the dawn of the true heroic age, whose chivalry 
shall not exist merely in poetry, but in reality. It 
shall not be maintained by the sword, but by the 
power of truth and justice. In this high heroism all 
can participate. All may share its glory. The field 
is as broad as the world ; its aim is as high as the 
heavens. Then let us all take a part ; let us all be up 
and be doing. 




Ah ! why to be happy, a moment forbear, 
For dread that a sorrow may fall to our share : 
Why look for the night when the sun 's in its nooni 
For come care when it will, we shall know it too soon. 

Every one, to a certain extent, forms for himself a 
theory of hfe, and the ideas of each individual are 
made more or less manifest, by his daily intercourse 
with those around him. When we meet with a man 
for the first time, he makes upon us a certain impres- 
sion, often, indeed, sufficient to enable us to form 
a correct notion of his most prominent characteris- 
tics, and of his general views of the purpose of hu- 
man existence. Often, without speaking a word, by 
the mere interchange of a passing glance, are we 
enabled to arrive at something like a correct and defi- 
nite idea, of the state of another's mind, and, conse- 
quently, the point of view from which he regards life. 
Though there is every conceivable shade of difference 
in men's opinions of human life, — from him who is all 
sunshine and happiness, to the morose misanthropic, 
whose very gestures contain a complaint, — yetj I think 
they can all be reduced to two classes; those that 
seem born to laugh alike at happiness and misery, 
who go through the world as if sent upon an agreeable 
errand, and those, on the other hand, who always 
look and speak as if they had conceived some dislike 
to the world in their infancy, and were determined to 
carry their resentment with them to the grave. We 
meet with some one of each of these classes at every 


Step in life. Now, you are approached by one who by 
his bland manners, unaffected sincerity, and cheerful 
deportment never fails to impart to you something of 
his own happy disposition. We greet him as we do 
the warm sunshine of heaven, and we experience in 
his society the highest happiness that life can afford. 
Anon we meet with one who is in every respect his 
opposite ; slowly he advances towards you, with a 
cold look, and averted brow, as if he saw an enemy in 
everything by which he was surrounded. He offers 
you his hand as if you were hardly worth the effort it 
cost him. He opens his mouth with as much delib- 
eration as if lips were regulated by the principles of 
arithmetic, and he speaks as if the fate of worlds hung 
upon every word he uttered, and yet all he says is 
sure to relate to himself Such a one never fails to 
inspire you with gloom and ennui, for misanthropy 
is the worst of moral epidemics. We are influenced, 
much more than we would at first suppose, by the 
opinion we form of life in the abstract. Some men 
seem to commence their earthly pilgrimage with the 
idea that everything ought to contribute to their enjoy- 
ments; and the great end of all their actions appears to 
be, to make everything contribute to this result. And 
when, at length, they are disappointed, which of 
course, they always are, they seem to derive a mali- 
cious pleasure in withholding from societ}?', the contri- 
bution of a smile. They put on a long face, and 
grumble at every occurring event, as if to chastise the 
world because it has not made their happiness its end 
and aim. 

It is, I think, a demonstrable fact, that those who 
are the most constantly complaining, — with M^hom noth- 
ing is exactly as it should be, — who see, in almost every 


circumstance of life, something that might be changed 
for the better, — constitute, for the most part, those who 
actually receive more than their average share of the 
favors of fortune. Who are they that are the most 
constantly repining at their lot 7 Is it the | oor, the 
friendless, the unfortunate 1 No, usually quite the 
reverse. It is those who complain because they have 
nothing else to do; who are enervated with the smiles 
of fortune ; who seem incapable of thinking or feeling 
aught but that which in some way relates to them- 
selves. They count with exactness the pulsations of 
their hearts, lest the condition of another should cause 
a generous throb. 

Those who, for the most part, are compelled to con- 
tend with the stern and terrible realities of life, whose 
pathway is marked with nothing so much as suffering 
and sorrow, who bear without a murmur more than 
their share of the burdens of the world, — it is such 
that most frequently exhibit, in its beauty and attrac- 
tiveness, the virtue of contentment. Instead of regret- 
ting what they have not, they thank God for what 
they have, and go on their way rejoicing. Give 
me the man who has a heart for any fate; who is 
greater than his circumstances; from whom no ca- 
lamity, however appalling, can chase away the cheer- 
ful smile; whose great soul rises above the petty 
annoyances and ills of life ; who, amidst the darkness 
of the present, can always see a bright and glorious 
future beyond. Where shall such a one be found 1 
Not among the favored few, but among the poorly- 
favored many. Not in the palaces of the rich, but in 
the abode of poverty. Yet is he welcomed every- 
where! His cheerful deportment and unruffled tern- 


per is his passport. There is genius in his frank, open 
countenance and laughing eye, that finds a ready 
welcome to every heart ; of such a one it may indeed 
be said, he is a model man. 

But what shall be said of him whose pigmy thoughts 
circle perpetually around his little self? Who never 
speaks to another but to report some ache or pain; 
who is forever recounting his own sorrows? You may 
know him by the dull, stupid glance, the sluggish 
gait, the inexpressive face, the whining tone, the alto- 
gether forbidding aspect. He goes forth into the world 
in search of sympathy, but never thinks of imparting 
it. His greatest misery is to witness the happiness 
of others. He is ever croaking about the wretched- 
ness of life, but does nothing to diminish it; dis- 
satisfied with everything, pleased only with his dis- 

Much of the dissatisfaction of those who perpetually 
look upon the dark side of life, is dignified with the 
appellation of sentimentality, and even takes to ex- 
pressing itself in poetry. The spoiled beauty will 
often weep big tears over a decayed dandelion flower, 
in a wine-glass upon the centre-table, but beholds, 
unmoved, the most appalling suffering which exists 
everywhere in society. Sentimentality, forsooth ! No, 
call it by its right name, — abject selfishness. This is 
the true origin of most of the discontent in the world. 
The deepest, truest sorrow utters no plaint. The 
heart that is its subject never murmurs or repines, for 
it is conscious that by sufiering alone it can be purified 
and elevated to a higher and holier life. This simper- 
ing and wimpering, this silly and sickly sentimentality 
breathed forth in much of our common-place poetry, 
emanates from weak heads and little hearts, and is the 


offspring of inactivity, selfishness and ennui. If we 
carefully reflect upon the thousand sources of happi- 
ness open alike to all ; if we compare the nature and 
the number of blessings we each enjoy, with our 
respective merits, we shall find, I think, little justifica- 
tion for a discontented spirit. Life itself, aside from 
all other considerations, is something for which we 
can never be too grateful. Our physical, intellectual 
and moral powers, what are they but so many means 
of happiness ? The material world is ever furnishing, 
through the medium of the five senses, an amount of 
pleasure which amply compensates for all physical 
suffering. But how shall we speak of those higher 
enjoyments in which we are permitted to participate 
as rational and intelligent beings 7 Is there not, in the 
deep delight imparted by one original thought, enough 
to make us forget the misery of a whole life 7 We do 
not pretend to explain the design of evil, nor would we 
for a moment deny the suffering which is its con- 
sequence. What we do maintain is that it is the 
exception and not the rule. Happiness preponderates 
over its opposite. There is no one that is not conscious 
of a greater amount of pleasure than pain. There are 
but few who may not find, in the circumstances of life, 
an abundant reason for cherishing the spirit of content- 
ment. The sunlight of heaven shines down upon 
all. The beautiful objects with which God has every- 
where studded the earth, speak to us of happiness. 
What though there be here and there one for whom 
the sun never shines, and the flowers never bloom, — 
who sees not aught in earth and sky 7 Is there 
not a world within whose spirit light knows no 
eclipse 7 Shall he who has four senses complain be- 
cause there are others who have more 7 And yet it 


is upon this poor principle alone that discontent can 
be justified. 

It cannot be denied that much of the suffering of life 
comes from our own ignorance or neglect of those laws 
which were instituted to afford us happiness. Yet, 
after all, why should we concern ourselves about mere 
enjoyment? Why should we spend so much of our 
time in the pursuit of mere pleasure. It seems to us 
that there is a far higher state than that which is 
denoted by happiness, pleasure, enjoyment, &c. Ev- 
ery one, we think, must be conscious, at times, of a 
higher excellence than these terms would seem to 
indicate, — of a blessedness, an exaltation above mere 
physical suffering, and free from all selfish considera- 
tions. The maxim, that happiness is the end and aim 
of man's existence, is, to say the least, very ques- 
tionable. Duty, we think, would better express the 
idea intended to be conveyed. 

There is nothing which so resembles the repose 
and quietude of nature, as the spirit of contentment 
in the human soul. It not only puts us in harmony 
with nature and with all around us, but it prepares 
us for the vicissitudes and changes incidental to this 
primitive state of existence. Contentment gives con- 
sistency and beauty to our daily life, and enables 
us to impart a portion of our serenity to those with 
whom we associate. Virtue is lovely in any of the 
thousand forms in which it may present itself. But 
there is no trait of the human character more neces- 
sary to be cultivated, and more worthy of our ad- 
miration than contentment. Do you ask whence 
it comes? I will tell you, my brother. It flows 
from a grateful heart, a well spent life, — from a 
conscience void of offence towards God and man. 



The beautiful, the beautiful, 

Have faded from our track, 
And we mourn them, and we mourn them, 

But we cannot bring them back. 

It is with regret that we listen to the falling leaves 
of autumn. It is with feelings of sadness that we be- 
hold the flower we have cherished droop and die. 
But the deepest sorrow the heart can know is experi- 
enced when we are called to part with a much loved 
friend, — when the familiar eye looks upon us for the 
last time, and when the voice whose music has so 
long blest us, pronounces, in tremulous accents, the last 
dreaded farewell ! 

One who shared with us the enjoyments of life, who 
contributed by her rare excellences to the happiness 
of all who knew her, has left us for her home in 
heaven. The angel has taken her from us in the pride 
and beauty of life, while yet the countenance was 
radiant with beauty and joy, and the heart yet beat 
with youth's first, fresh impulses. The step, that but 
yesterday was so blithesome and gay, has ceased. 
The voice, that carolled so sweetly, is mute. The 
smile that wreathed the lips with gladness, like the 
last rays of departing day, has withdrawn its light. 
And the eye, that so eloquently told the workings of 
an innocent heart, is closed in death. But fancy 
delights to picture the image of one in v/hom was 
blended so many graces in unity and perfection. Oh, 
my friend! gladly would 1 have parted with life, 
could I have retained in thee the vital spark ! Could 


I have revived again that prostrate form, I •would 
have welcomed the fell destroyer to my own bosom. 
But no, it could not be. We knew, by the hectic flush 
on thy young cheek, — by the hollow cough, that, like 
a funeral-knell, broke on our ears, — by these we knew 
that consumption had marked thee for its own. Too 
soon, at last, the dreaded time approached. All that 
skill and love could do, could not preserve our fair 
young friend; yet she lingered long ere her bright 
spirit took its flight to its more genial home on high. 
'Tis sad to see one you love wasting away, day 
by day, without being able to softly whisper one 
word of hope. To know that you can count the 
hours that all too quickly pass away, till the dread 
moment when the spirit takes its flight. Yet this 
we knew, who wept that one so beautiful as Mary 
should so soon be taken from us. Would that I could 
tell how she in happier days endeared herself to every 
heart by those thousand .nameless acts that spoke 
a woman in the child. But she is gone ! The fresh, 
young flower, chilled by the cold north wind, has 
drooped and died. Yet, its sweet fragrance shall live 
forever. Embalmed is her memory with the beauti- 
ful but faded visions of the past. We gaze no more 
where once was enshrined her innocent heart. We 
see no more those eyes through which an angel 
smiled, yet do we know that she is blest. Like 
a gay young bird she unfolded her wings upon the 
earth, warbled her sweet song, and then returned 
again to her home in the skies. 



There are some situations in life devoid of all miti- 
gating circumstances. Some one, writing upon this 
subject, has mentioned two, — "to be shipwrecked at 
sea, and to be irrecoverably involved in debt." To 
these, we would add a third; — "To be compelled to 
ride on the top of a stage-coach, two days and nights, 
in succession, across the Alleghany mountains." Yet, 
this was once our fate. We have had the toothache, 
and sometimes, the heart-ache, but, we must confess, 
that never until then, were we fully made acquainted 
with our capacity for suffering. One day, at about 
eleven o'clock, P. M., in the month of January, 1846, 
— we like to be particular in dates, — we found our- 
selves occupying anything but a comfortable position 
on the top of a stage that was to take us from Cham- 
bersburg, Pennsylvania, to the Ohio river. Besides 
twelve passengers in the inside, there were three, in- 
cluding myself, upon the top. As soon as our baggage 
had been stowed in the boot, we drove off. It seemed 
to me that I never before felt such a deep desire to 
look upon the stars ; for, somehow, I had conceived 
the idea that they would serve to divert my mind from 
a consciousness of my true condition. As a general 
thing, I like to ride by night; for, though I cannot see 
the fair earth reposing in the soft moonlight, nor the 
stars, that, like the mystic sentinels, look coldly down 
upon us ; yet, there is something in the profound still- 
ness of midnight that seems to elevate the soul with 
noble thoughts and lofty aspirations. But, on the 


present occasion, I am free to confess, dear reader, 
that my thoughts were all occupied with the state of 
the body. And if I thought at all of the sun, moon, 
or the stars, it was because I envied them their 
more genial climate. The wind blew fresh from the 
northwest, from whose penetrating power our clothes 
seemed to afford no protection. I had, a day or two 
previous, read the description of the Northmen's idea 
of hell, so graphically described by Frederica Bremer, 
and, for a short time, I l>egan to think I had been 
given over to its fury by fate. My companions were 
so busily occupied in keeping up the circulation, by 
stamping their feet, clapping their hands, and perform- 
ing sundry other antics, it was a long time before I could 
find out who and what were the nature of those with 
whom I was to spend some forty-eight hours of unmit- 
igated misery. At length, however, I succeeded in 
drawing from one of them a reply. It seemed to come 
from a heart whose temperature was not much above 
the surrounding atmosphere. I addressed the other, 
and found him to be not quite devoid of his humanity, 
and who manifested by his conversation, some interest 
in Kfe and its objects. He said his name was Williams, 
that he was going to Pittsburg on business, but quickly 
rejoined, "Do you think we shall ever get there?" 
"We shall," replied the other, slowly drawling out his 
words, " but not in a condition to be of any further 
service to the world." Prompted by curiosity, and 
with a desire to engage him in conversation, I asked 
him his name. "Yesterday," he replied, "it was 
Rice, but unless the weather greatly changes, by to- 
morrow, it will be more appropriate to call me ice." 
As to the driver, he seldom spoke, and when he did, it 
•was usually to his horses. I foimd Mr. WiUiams to 


be, upon the whole, rather an agreeable companion. 
We talked much, and in this way endeavored to for- 
get, or, if this was impossible, to manifest indiffer- 
ence to, our freezing condition, Mr. Rice seemed to 
prefer his own to the company of any one else. The 
greater part of his person was completely enveloped in 
a buffalo skin. He kept, however, constantly stamping 
his feet, as if he had spent a great part of his previous 
life upon a treadmill. About once in every five min- 
utes, he would exclaim, in a tone that indicated serious 
apprehensions lest he should congeal, "Have mercy 
upon us ! have mercy upon us ! " on which occasion, 
Mr. Williams and myself would respond a hearty 
amen. About once in every three hours we stopped 
for the purpose of changing horses, and this afforded 
us an opportunity to diffuse into our half-perishing 
systems a small amount of caloric. On such occasions 
it was amusing and instructing to witness the display 
of that dominant instinct of man's nature, that ever- 
active principle that prompts him, first of all, to seek 
his own happiness, regardless of others. No sooner 
did the stage stop before the door of the hotel, than 
each passenger endeavored to secure for himself the 
most comfortable position by the fire, if, indeed, there 
happened to be one, which was not always the case. 
Some there were among our number, who had recourse 
to that more terrible fire, which, if at the time it 
diffuses a temporary heat through the body, consumes 
with terrible rapidity the soul. In this way was our 
journey, for the first night, accomplished. I had cul- 
tivated a kind of intimacy with my fellow-traveller, 
Williams, and we endeavored to amuse each other, bj- 
relating such portions of our experience as we thought 
would best accomplish this object. In our views of 


life, and our opinions upon almost ever / subject, there 
was a great diversity. There was but just one thing 
upon which we both thoroughly agreed; that to be 
situated as v/e were at that time, was the perfection 
of misery. However, it has been justly remarked, 
that there is no situation in life to which we cannot 
accustom ourselves. Our experience in crossing the 
Alleghanies verified this. A rather curious question 
was argued among my fellow-passengers in the inside 
of the coach, which was discussed for the time, with 
great earnestness, as to the degree of cold a man could 
endure and live. In the course of the discussion, the 
point was raised, as to which was the easiest way of 
dying, freezing or burning to death. The question, on 
being referred to us on the outside, was, of course, 
decided in favor of the latter method. Morning, at 
length, approached, and in a few hours I felt the 
warm, genial heat of the sun, and at that moment I 
felt amply compensated for never having been per- 
mitted to behold its light. Blessed sunshine, that 
difFuseth joy alike in the palace of the rich, and the 
cot of the poor, and that everywhere admonishes men 
of their common brotherhood. At length, we arrived 
at the village where we were to take breakfast. ]Mr. 
Rice, who, for several hours, had been lying by my 
side, as immovable as a piece of marble, suddenly 
emerged from his buffalo skin, something in the same 
manner as those animals, who spend the winter in 
a torpid state, come forth from their holes in the 
spring. We were soon all seated around a well sup- 
plied breakfast table, and for the ten minutes which 
were allowed us, we each labored to obtain our full 
equivalent for three shilhngs. There is a wonderful 
connection between our external and internal condi- 


tion. We would, by all means, give prominence in 
life to the wants of the soul over those of the body. 
But, we frankly confess, we could never attain to a 
very high degree of spiritual exaltation, while suffer- 
ing from the influence of hunger or thirst. We always 
found it more easy to cultivate a poetical frame of 
mind, after eating a good meal; and we would sug- 
gest this as the best method of improving the spiritual 
condition of mankind, — of the millions of famishing, 
starving, and ignorant all over the earth, whose wretch- 
edness appeals alike to the sympathy of good men and 
angels. Give them enough to eat, and clothes to keep 
them warm, and they will listen with pleasure and 
profit to your fine homilies upon moral goodness, the 
vast capacities and future condition of the soul, &c. 
Until you do this, complain not that the imperious 
appetites and passions so often gain the ascendency 
over reason, and silence the voice of conscience. But 
to return once more to our journey; the breakfast ex- 
erted an immediate and beneficent influence upon us. 
And Mr. Rice, who seemed naturally inclined to look 
upon the dark side of things, said, as he wrapped his 
buflalo around him, and resumed his place upon the 
coach, " There is really something worth living for, 
after all ! " " Do you think," said Mr. Williams, " we 
shall arrive at Pittsburg in a condition to be of further 
service to the world?" "That will depend," was the 
reply, " upon how many such hotels as this we shall 
stop at." At this place, we exchanged our drivers. 
Instead of a mere block of flesh and bones, with barc'- 
ly sufficient mechanical power to perform the most 
common evolutions, and a voice that seemed fitted 
only to growl, we had a fine young fellow, who proved 
to be very companionable. I early engaged him in 


conversation, and found that he had ideas and acquire- 
ments greatly surpassing the average of those who 
pursue his avocation. He had evidently employed 
his mind upon something else besides the mere train- 
ing and driving of horses. He remarked to me, that 
with the house where we had taken breakfast there 
was connected a very painful history. He then pro- 
ceeded to relate the following story. We wish it was 
in our power to give it in his own words, for it would 
greatly add to its effect. 

The hotel where we had taken breakfast, was, until 
recently, the family mansion of a wealthy but eccen- 
tric Dutchman, by the name of Van Scoburg, by 
whom it was built some thirty years ago. Mr. Yan 
Scoburg had two children, a son and daughter, who 
occupied the house after their father's death, which 
occurred a few years since. There was something 
peculiar in the mode of life which this family led, 
which astonished the inhabitants of the village, and 
greatly excited their curiosity. They always sought 
to seclude themselves, as much as possible, from the 
scrutiny and acquaintance of their neighbors. Nor 
did the brother and sister manifest, after their father's 
death, any disposition to cultivate a more intimate 
acquaintance with those around them, than they had 
been permitted to do during his life. This seemed the 
more surprising, because they had arrived at that pe- 
riod in life, when the need of human society is usually 
most deeply felt. The neighbors sometimes visited 
them, and though they were treated with great kind- 
ness, their visits were never returned. The brother 
and the sister seemed to be contented with each other's 
society, and to ask nothing more. " Things went en in 
this way," said my-companion, "for some time. The 


Van Scoburgs continued to maintain their imperturbable 
isolation, and the curiosity of the neighbors, on the 
other hand, continued to increase. Every fact or cir- 
cumstance which had been observed in relation to the 
family was carefully considered. The most remarka- 
ble one was, that they never attended church, but that 
the minister went at regular intervals to their house to 
administer the sacrament. It was therefore thought 
by the villagers that he could gratify their curiosity. 
But whenever that personage was addressed upon the 
subject, he only said that which tended to excite them 
the more. To the men he would speak of the gentle- 
ness and amiability of the sister, while, to the women, 
he would eulogize the manly traits of the brother. 
Every expedient was had recourse to, to induce the 
Yan Scoburgs to live (as the neighbors expressed it) 
like other people, but all to no purpose; they seemed 
determined on maintaining their incognito. 

One day, just at dusk, the stage stopped in front of 
the house, that had now become in the village an object 
of general interest. A young man, richly dressed, 
stepped out and knocked at the door, which was 
immediately opened by Julia Van Scoburg, and the 
new comer welcomed with great cordiality and affec- 
tion. This circumstance, which was witnessed by 
several persons, spread with great rapidity through the 
village. Thus, there was another item for specula- 
tion. Innumerable were the questions to which it 
gave rise. Who could this man be 7 Where was he 
from? What was his object here? How long would 
he stay? and such like. To the great astonishment 
of all, the next Sabbath after the event we have just 
described, the Van Scoburgs appeared, with their new 
visitor, in the village church. It may well be supposed 


that the domine's sermon for that day was but little 
attended to. All minds seemed occupied, for the time, 
in the fruitless endeavor to explain what to them 
seemed the strangest circumstance that had ever oc- 
curred. Never before had the Van Scoburgs been seen 
in the inside of the church. Their first appearance, 
at this time, was justly ascribe4 to the influence of the 
stranger. This, at once, created for him a lively in- 
terest. The villagers looked upon him as one who 
would enable them, at length, to gratify their curiosity. 
During the week there was no want of a subject for 
gossip. After the occurrence of which we have just 
spoken, the Van Scoburgs, with their friend, were 
often seen walking or riding through the village, 
though they still maintained a seclusion from their 
neighbors, which was quite contrary to the rules of 
Dutch society. 

" However," said the driver, pausing for a moment, 
"you have not yet heard the most wonderful part of 
my story." We urged him to go on, and he proceeded. 
" This stranger, of whom I have been speaking, was 
a young German student. We afterwards found out 
all about him. It seems that the father of the Van 
Scoburgs had promised the father of the student, that 
he would give his daughter in marriage to his son. 
As soon, therefore, as Van Scoburg died, the young 
student came to see her who had been promised him 
as his bride." "Well," said I, growing rather tired 
of the narrative, " were they finally married ? " " Yes," 
replied the driver, "they were married, — and in 
the church, too. And the villagers were all amply 
gratified in witnessing the ceremony. But, alas I in 
two weeks from that day, the young student and his 
beautiful bride, with their brother, were each con- 


signed to the cold grave." "What, so soon?" said I; 
"how happened it7 " " It would take too long to tell 
you the rest of the story. We have now," said the 
driver, "arrived to the place where 1 leave. Should 
you ever come this way again, 1 will conclude my 
history of the Van Scoburgs." 

After taking dinner, we proceeded on our journey, 
with a driver remarkable for his stupidity as his prede- 
cessor had been for story-telling. Just at dark, we had 
arrived at the commencement of the ascent of the 
highest part of the Alleghanies, with the prospect of 
having a colder time than the preceding night. Here I 
witnessed what is probably seldom seen upon any other 
road in the United States, — the passengers upon the 
inside of the coach, bargaining away their right to a 
seat with those upon the outside. In this way, my com- 
panions had both succeeded, for a small consideration, 
in securing a seat in the inside of the coach for the rest 
of the journey. There is but one thing that tends to 
mitigate the many evils to which a traveller in the west- 
ern part of Pennsylvania is exposed ; you are always 
sure to get enough to eat, provided you will pay twice 
as much for it as you would have to in any other part 
of the country. I cannot exactly tell how I contrived 
to pass the last night in my journey across the moun- 
tains. I only know, that when morning came, and 
we had stopped for breakfast, I experienced something 
of the sensations of one who has come near being 
drowned, but who has been suddenly restored by great 
effort. At length, after another monotonous day's 
journey, we arrived in sight of Pittsburg, or rather, its 
smoke, which rises up from its thousand furnaces, 
completely enveloping the city. Yet, beneath that 
smoke, there is many a happy home, many a friendly 


fireside. Of all the cities, west of Philadelphia, 
Pittsburg yields to none for energy and enterprise. 
It is a fitting place to rest, after you have endured 
the fatigue and vicissitudes of a journey over the Alle- 



The greatest mistake man can ever commit, is to 
suppose that he can find, in the present slate of exist- 
ence, that which can fully gratify all his wants. The 
cravings of the immortal soul — how vain and futile 
it is to expect that they can ever be gratified in this 
primary and imperfect state of existence. There is no 
lesson of life so constantly impressed upon our minds, 
no truth so often forced upon our consciousness by the 
ordinary occurrences of every day, and every hour, as 
that this world is too poor, too inadequate to gratify 
the longings and aspirations of the restless spirit of 
man, that is ever asking for more, — that is ever 
striving to attain that which it can never fully succeed 
in grasping in his present imperfect state of develop- 

If we look abroad upon the earth and study atten- 
tively human life as it is there presented in its thou- 
sand different aspects, — if we regard it as a whole, 
or view each phase separately, — if we contemplate 
man as savage or as civilized, or as emerging from one 
state into the other, we everywhere find this great fact 
stamped upon all his actions, giving character to all 
he says and does, and pervading in very truth his 
inmost being, — that time is too short, that the world 
is too poor, to enable him to develop and expand the 
mighty energies of his exalted nature. To us, the 
strongest argument for another and a higher life is 
furnished in the sad mistakes and miserable failures 
that constitute so much of our experience upon this 


mundane sphere. How many and varied, yet, for the 
most part, how poor and inadequate, are the efforts of 
man to realize what he conceives, — to actualize his 
thoughts, —to embody his ideas,— to give symmetry and 
beauty to the myriad forms that haunt his imagina- 
tion, and that struggle in vain for realization. The 
artist endeavors to express upon the canvass his con- 
ception of the good, the true, and the beautiful; he 
toils for days and nights, for months and years, to 
embody the seraphic vision, the angel form, that, 
amidst all the vicissitudes of life, breathes its soft music 
through his delicately wrought spirit. Yet when a 
wondering world gaze with rapture and delight at his 
noble effort, how often will he exclaim, " This is not 
my dream, this is not what I hope to do ;" and then, 
as if impelled by a prophetic instinct, he turns upwards 
his gaze to the stars, as if he felt conscious he should 
achieve there what he vainly endeavored to realize here. 
In like manner does the sculptor labor to chisel from 
the cold marble of the quarry, a form that shall fitting- 
ly express his highest thought, his loftiest idea of 
beauty and perfection; yet how often is he compelled 
to acknowledge that this life is not long enough for the 
attainment of his object ! When he looks upon the 
creation of years, beholds the once shapeless marble, 
made, by his patient toil, a statue, whose graceful 
proportions, — whose wonderful symmetry seems to 
constitute the perfection of the divinest of the arts ; 
yet, from hi^ inmost soul does he feel that there is yet 
something wanting, — that his great thought has been 
but half realized. At such an hour the gifted genius 
feels what an eminent artist once expressed after he 
had finished his master-piece, — that "there was not 
time enough in the present state of existence, to enable 


him fully to realize his conception, but that he was 
sure what could not be accomplished on earth would 
be realized in heaven." "What we have said of the 
painter and sculptor, is equally true of the poet and 
musician. None can fully express the thought which 
it seems to have been their mission but to partly unfold. 
None ever succeeded in fully completing all that they 
had desired. But this is rendered even more striking, 
when we contemplate the daily life of the less gifted, — 
when we leave the studio of the artist, the enchanted 
haunts of the poet and musician, and go forth into the 
broad theatre of the world. Everywhere do we be- 
hold the same disparity between the aim and the end ; 
between what one essays to do and what is actually 
accomplished. This is a universal fact, and forms a 
part of the experience of every individual soul. 

Every man seems to have a consciousness of an 
individual destiny, — of a purpose which he alone can, 
at best, but imperfectly express. And after the brief 
period of his earthly pilgrimage has passed, and he 
feels how little he has been able to effect, he realizes, 
what it would have been well if he could have learned 
before, that the present life is insufficient, — that the 
plans projected here can, for the most part, only be 
accomplished in a higher state of existence ; yet it is 
interesting to witness, with what earnestness, with 
what deep sincerity, each one labors in his own peculiar 
sphere of activity, and it is wonderful to observe how 
the failures of all contribute to a certain given result 
which could not be otherwise obtained. The individ- 
ual fails, but the race is always advancing. There is 
a unity, (if we would but see it,) in the seeming desul- 
tory efforts that produce such fragmentary results. 

There is more truth than is generally supposed in 


the trite adage, " It takes all kinds of people to make 
a world." When we look merely at immediate results, 
we cannot but deplore the spectacle which is every- 
where presented in human society, of men laboring to 
accomplish a purpose, having only their individual 
good in view, {seemingly,^ at first sight, in contraven- 
tion to those obligations that bind men together in one 
common family. Much is said of the isolation and 
selfishness that everywhere exist. We hear it deeply 
deplored that the common brotherhood of men is not 
more deeply felt ; but we ought to remember that the 
individual is greater than society, — that the one ex- 
isted long before the other ; consequently, the claims 
of the individual will ever be paramount to those of 
the social compact, whose highest aim it is to favor 
his development. Much is written upon the obliga- 
tions we owe to society. There is, perhaps, no fact 
that has taken so strong a hold of the consciousness of 
the present age as the power conferred by combination, 
— the influence exerted by the aggregation of numbers; 
but in our opinion, there is nothing to be so much 
dreaded as the despotism of association. Of all tyr- 
annies, that of majorities is the most galling, the most 
relentless. We hope we shall not be misunderstood ; 
we do not deny, and we would not depreciate, the 
advantages obtained and the blessings conferred by 
united action. Many public enterprises of great utility 
are effected in this way, when, perhaps, they could 
not be in any other ; but the advantages obtained by 
concert of action do, at most, but augment our facili- 
ties for mere physical improvement, and so far as 
this contributes to the intellectual improvement, or 
moral advancement of the individual, or of man in the 
aggregate, it is well ; and it is by this principle that 


we must judge society. It is by the influence which 
it exerts upon the development of the individual soul 
that each and every social institution must be measured. 
We know that this much is claimed for most of the 
boasted improvements of modern times. It is said, for 
instance, that railroads, by establishing a more frequent 
communication between remote parts of the country, 
and by bringing distant communities in immediate 
proximity with each other, contribute to the enlarge- 
ment and diffusion of ideas and to the expansion of the 
sympathies, and thus promote a greater unity among 
men. But the advantage that is thus conferred upon 
the individual is, at most, but incidental. The object 
of this, as of every other improvement, is to augment 
social facilities, and not to promote the permanent hap- 
piness of man. And hence, we find, that although the 
advancement of society at the present day is without a 
parallel, the individual has retrograded. Who can fail 
to see that there is an immense disproportion between 
the attention bestowed upon the public and the indi- 
vidual interest. Society is enervated with its luxuries, 
while yet many of its members are suffering for the 
most common necessaries of life. There exists, in 
consequence, a greater inequality among men than at 
any former period. It seems to us that we have be- 
stowed too much attention upon the physical, and not 
enough upon the intellectual and moral wants of our 
nature. The external, the mere physical, has been 
developed, while the internal, the spiritual, has been 
neglected. Society moulds man; instead of adminis- 
tering to his wants and favoring his development, it 
tyrannizes over and enslaves him. To a great extent, 
is it not true that our ideas and thoughts are regulated 
by custom ? Is it not the great object to think and act 


as the majority do 1 What is more rare than origi- 
naUty ? 

Perfection in social organism can only be attained 
by the advancement of the individual. Social progress 
ought always to be in proportion to individual develop- 
ment. There is a dignity in man which society can 
never possess, and which ought never to be compro- 
mised by surrendering those rights with which he alone 
is endowed. That desire for unity and harmony, of 
which every soul is conscious, can only be fully grati- 
fied when the powers and facilities which God has 
conferred upon us are so developed and regulated that 
they shall sustain to each other an exact and true rela- 
tionship. So slow is the process by which this can be 
accomplished, that the most we can hope for in the 
present state of existence is, to commence a work 
which will occupy eternity in its completion. Heaven, 
paradoxical as it may seem, is the perfection of indi- 
viduality. There is oneness only in the unit. 

In the present infancy of our being, where, like inex- 
perienced children, we occupy our thoughts with the 
things wherewith the great God has ornamented our 
playhouse, we see but little, very little of ourselves ; all 
our thoughts are turned outward. We admire the 
growth of the tree, but notice not the expansion of the 
soul. We search for music and for beauty as if they 
existed in the leaf of the rose or the flowing of the 
waters, when, in very truth, they flow forth from our 
inmost being. So ignorant are we of ourselves, that 
when we see our reflection in surrounding objects, we 
do not recognize it ; we occupy ourselves more with 
the clothes than that which they envelop ; we are more 
familiar with the symbol than that which it was 
intended to express. In fine, we have not yet begun 


to apprehend that subhmest of truths, that the only- 
permanent is the immaterial, the only real is the ideal. 
All in the present state of existence is dim, indistinct, 
undefinable. Man comprehends nothing fully, but 
least of all himself; yet is he slowly, all unconsciously, 
working out the great problem, — looking for harmony, 
— beholding nothing but diversity, — ever sighing for 
unity, yet hearing naught but discord. Such is man, 
and such is his present condition ; yet in the misery 
and imperfection of to-day, there is indicated a brighter 
morrow; and though we behold everywhere written 
the insufficiency and inadequacy of the present life, we 
see a mysterious hand that is ever pointed to the far- 
off future, and a voice proclaiming this to be our 
destiny. — Onward ! ever onward ! ! 



We have, in a previous article, given some account 
of Nicholas Saunderson, one of the most remarkable 
blind men of whom history speaks. We propose, in 
the present essay, to make a few remarks upon the life 
and writings of Dr. Blacklock, who acquired, during 
the last century, no common celebrity as a poet. And 
if we take into consideration the fact, that, like Saun- 
derson, he was deprived of his sight from his earliest 
mfancy, we must, I am sure, consider the attainments 
he made in literature and philosophy to be very remark- 
able. No one can become acquainted with his writings 
without admitting that he was as great a poet as 
Saunderson was a mathematician. Taking them both 
together they were certainly wonderful men, and de- 
monstrate in their lives, how much can be done to 
counteract the effects of one of the greatest calamities 
to which a human being can ever be subjected. Noth- 
ing at first thought seems more astonishing than that 
two men deprived of the use of their eyes at so early 
a period as never to have remembered anything about 
visible objects, should have devoted their lives to those 
pursuits which more than any others seem to require 
the aid of sight. But ^vhile we are filled with admira- 
tion at their astonishing success, we cannot at the same 
time avoid the conviction, that if they had not been 
subjected to so great a physical calamity, they might 
have accomplished much more for themselves and man- 
kind. When, for example, we read with what amaz- 
ing facility Saunderson was able to expound the laws 


and phenomena of light, we are more deeply impressed 
than we could ever have been before, of the influence 
that blindness must ever exert in retarding intellectual 
progress, — and we involuntarily exclaim, what a pity 
that so great a man should be the victim of so terrible 
a misfortune ! And in like manner, when we read the 
beautiful verses of Blacklock, especially those in which 
he attempts to depict the wonders of nature, forever 
veiled from his gaze, and that existed to him only in 
story, though we are greatly surprised at the correct- 
ness and even vividness of his pictures, still we are 
made to feel that when he was bereft of sight the 
world was deprived of a great descriptive poet, — of one 
who in his delineations of nature might have equalled 
Burns or even Byron. Still, the poetical productions 
of Blacklock possess great merit. For if he did not 
always succeed in describing as graphically as others 
have done the material world, he yielded to none in 
delineating the workings of the passions. He under- 
stood the nature and the power of love, and could speak 
of its eflfects on the heart and life with much greater 
ease and correctness than he could possibly describe 
the most common phenomenon of nature — as, for ex- 
ample, the reflection of the moonbeams upon the quiet 
waters, a gorgeous sunset, &c. 

It is worthy of remark, in this connection, that all 
the ideas which a man who is born blind can have of 
external nature are obtained through his other senses, 
or by association. It is by this latter method alone, 
that he can obtain a knowledge of colors. It is then 
evident that he could never succeed as a dramatic poet. 
And it will always be, at least, a partial failure, when- 
ever he attempts to illustrate his thoughts, in prose or 
verse, by images drawn from the external world. Not 


because he has not within him the principle of beauty, 
for the soul is beauty's birth-place ; but in a blind man 
it struggles in vain to manifest itself. Of the enchant- 
ing landscape, the serene sky, the sun, the moon, the 
infinitude of stars, the green, beautiful earth, reposing in 
heaven's soft light, — of these, alas ! he can only dream. 
It is true that the soul, conscious of its mission, seeks 
to manifest itself — it is true that the blind man, im- 
pelled from within, endeavors to discover a similitude 
between his thoughts and the different objects by which 
he is surrounded. And though he sometimes succeeds 
in forming beautiful analogies, yet for the most part 
they but imperfectly convey his ideas. It has often 
been observed, that persons bereft of sight make use 
of the same terms that those do who are blessed with 
eyes. They speak, for instance, of seeing or beholding 
objects ; — but these terms are used, of course, in a 
metaphorical sense. By seeing, they mean that they 
perceive. They early accustom themselves to make 
use of the same terms employed by those around them, 
though it must be evident that they attach to them a 
different idea, which is formed or modified as they 
advance in life and their knowledge is increased. 
Thus, I attach to the word glory a different meaning 
now from that which it had in my childhood. I made 
use of it formerly, to express whatever seemed to be 
vast, grand, inconceivable, illimitable, &c. The mean- 
ing it now has is somewhat different. By the words 
glory, glorious, &c., I mean great brightness or bril- 
liancy. If I were to place my hands upon a large 
sphere or globe highly polished, I could not better ex- 
press my idea of it than to say it was bright or glori- 
ous. To be more explicit, we mean by the word 
glorious, infinite brightness. It must also be apparent 


that we attach to the names of colors a different mean- 
ing from that commonly applied to them. Red, blue, 
violet, green, yellow, &c., have each, to the mind of a 
blind man, an idea which may be found to differ ma- 
terially from the true one, or from that which they 
have who are permitted to behold them in those infinite 
combinations, in those beautiful varieties, which are 
everywhere exhibited in the material world. For ex- 
ample ; the blind man associates the blue with the 
sound of the flute ; violet, with the violin ; crimson, 
with the clarionet ; black, with the bass viol ; brown, 
with the bassoon ; and j^ellow, which is the least 
pleasing to him of all the colors, he associates with the 
sound of that instrument which every person with a 
cultivated ear cannot but dislike — the trombone; — ■ 
the deepest red or scarlet corresponds with the sound 
of the trumpet; the pink is associated with the soft 
notes of the bugle. We state these correspondences as 
they appear to us. 

On reading Blacklock's poetry, one is surprised with 
the uniformity and regularity with which he applies 
the names of the different colors to appropriate objects 
— as the blue sky, the green earth, the purple morn, 
the pale moonbeams, &c., &c. This has led some to 
suppose that he applied these terms for no other reason 
than that he had been accustomed to hear others do 
so. But we are inclined to dissent from this opinion. 
We cannot help thinking that he must have formed in 
his mind some definite idea of each color, after some- 
thing in the same manner as hinted above. There is 
a more striking analogy than one would at first sup- 
pose, between sounds and colors. Both are produced 
by vibration. And may it not be possible that the 
effect upon the optic nerve in the one case, is the same 


as that upon the auditory nerve in the other. I would 
state here for the benefit of the curious, that there is a 
fancied resemblance, at least, between colors and the 
tones of the human voice. The lower tones correspond 
with the darker shades — the medium voice, with the 
paler colors, or the milder shades — and the higher 
tones or the head voice, with the brightest and most 
brilliant colors, as a bright red for example. The 
female voice, whose melodious tones can move the 
heart to deepest ecstasy, is a combination of the 
blue, the violet, and the pink. The masculine 
voice resembles the black, the green, and the red. 
These are variously compounded in different individu- 
als. We hear, in the deep, rich tones of the Hon. Dan- 
iel Webster's voice, for example, the first two, or the 
black and red, or, if you please, dark and brilliant. In 
most persons, however, the medium or green voice pre- 
dominates. Those who have what is called a squeak- 
ing voice, such as the celebrated John Randolph is 
said to have bad, have the red predominant. The two 
extremes when rightly combined are the most agreeable 
to the ear. These remarks may seem crude, and to 
some even silly. We have made them, however, for 
what they are worth. It seems to us the only way in 
which we can satisfactorily explain how it is that the 
blind can obtain the most remote idea of colors. For 
it is absurd to suppose that they would make use of 
their names without attaching to them any meaning — 
that they would repeat, parrot-like, just as children 
sometimes do, words, without attaching to them any 
definite idea. It may not generally be known that the 
blind attach to almost all physical objects some moral 
quality. It of course depends upon the efiect produced 
by different objects upon the mind through their other 


senses, or upon some idea which they have obtained 
from others. With the sun is connected the idea of 
greatness and magnificence. With the moon, amiabil- 
ity, benignity, &c. The bhnd often display great dis- 
crimination and delicacy in distinguishing between, 
those objects that are beautiful, and those that are of 
an opposite character. A highly polished object, if it 
be a perfect circle, is the most agreeable to the touch. 
A square is much less so. A line that is a little curved 
is much more pleasing than one that is perfectly 
straight. A marble column, for instance, that gradu- 
ally tapers from the base to the apex, seems much more 
beautiful to the touch than one in which there is no 
variation. It will, perhaps, be said that the blind think 
the pyramid the most beautiful because it is more se- 
cure, because the centre of gravity is near the base. It 
will, however, be found, by experiment, that it is not 
this that influences their decision. If you take two 
models, the pyramid and the pyramid reversed, secur- 
ing the latter upon its apex, so as to appear to the 
touch equally firm' as the other, and then allow a blind 
child to examine each, he will tell you that the first is 
by far the most beautiful, though he may be entirely 
ignorant of attraction and its eflfects. And though he 
may not be able to assign any reason for his opinion, 
he will insist upon his preference for the pyramid. This, 
as well as many other facts which we might give, goes 
to show, we think conclusively, that our idea of the 
beautiful is not, as many have supposed, derived from 
considerations of utility, associations, education, &c., 
(though these, without doubt, exert a great influence in 
developing and modifying it,) but that we have within 
us an innate perception, which at once discriminates 
between those qualities or attributes of objects which 


we designate by the terms beauty and deformity. It 
may, perhaps, seem singular that the blind should have 
a marked preference for any style of architecture. Yet 
it will be found that they do. And what seems more 
wonderful, they uniformly manifest a decided prefer- 
ence for the Gothic over all others. The only way in 
which we can explain this is that they are influenced 
by the poetical associations connected with the ages in 
which Gothic architecture had its origin. As the blind 
are more susceptible to the emotion of beauty than of 
sublimity, it might naturally be thought that they 
would be more agreeably aflected with the light, gi'ace- 
ful, and delicate Corinthian, than with the more heavy, 
dark, and sombre Gothic style.* We have made the 
preceding remarks, not for the psychologist or metaphy- 
sician, but for those who, without claiming to be either, 
still feel a deep interest in whatever tends to throw 
hght upon the effects which any great physical calam- 
ity must always exert in counteracting or modifying 
the development of mind. To such, perhaps, even my 
poor and imperfect speculations will not be altogether 

We will now proceed to the consideration of the 
main object of this essay, which has been already too 

* A blind man of Troy, N. Y., had a legacy left Mm on condition 
that it should be appropriated to the building of a house, •which should 
serve as his future home. Nothwithstanding the remonstrances of his 
friends, he insisted upon having it built in the Gotliic style, or as near 
as it could be, although one might have been erected, in the ordinary 
way, at much less expense and far more convenient. The blind man, 
however, insisted upon having his taste gratified, and he has now tne 
satisfaction of knowing that he has the most singular house in the 
city, and that it attracts the attention of every one by its singular ap- 
pearance. Thus do those that have no eyes prove that they have taste 
and vanity as well as the rest of mankind. 


long deferred. We judged it best, however, to offer 
for the consideration of the reader these general re- 
marks, because, if they were introduced at any other 
place, they would be more likely to be misunderstood. 
Dr. Thomas Blacklock was born in the town of An- 
nan, Dumfrieshire, Scotland. When only six months 
old, he was deprived, by the small-pox, of the use of 
his eyes. To one in his circumstances this was a pe- 
culiarly great calamity. His father was a poor work- 
ing mason, who had a large family to provide for, and 
who could, of course, do but little towards mitigating 
the condition of his unfortunate child. It is, however, 
related of this excellent man that he endeavored by 
reading, and in every other way in his power, to make 
up to his son, in some degree at least, the loss he had 
sustained. Blacklock refers in several of his poems to 
the kind manner and untiring affection which his 
father always manifested towards him. He seems 
early to have evinced an ardent love of knowledge, 
which his benevolent parent labored assiduously to 
gratify, by reading to him at first books calculated to 
interest children under ten years of age. Afterwards, 
he was made acquainted with such works as Allan 
Ramsay, Prior's Poems, and the Tattlers, Spectators, 
and Guardians. He displayed at a very early period 
an uncommon fondness for poetry, and in reading Mil- 
ton, Spencer, Addison, and Pope, especially the two 
former, he took great delight. The enthusiasm awak- 
ened by the works of these eminent writers, was soon 
displayed by young Blacklock in making verses him- 
self. His first performances must, of course, be mere 
imitations of those he had read. Gradually, however, 
he became more original, and would utter such thoughts 
in verse, as the circumstances of his life and peculiar!- 


ties of his condition might naturally be supposed to 
suggest. Sometimes, in mournful numbers, he would 
bewail the loss of sight, but oftener, in livelier strains, 
he would express his gratitude for the kindness of his 
friends. Sometimes he would essay to describe an 
amusing incident, or uncommon occurrence, which 
happened to himself or his friends. It is to be regret- 
ted that these productions of his earlier years, with one 
exception, are lost. Among a collection of his works, 
there is a short poem, written when he was only 
twelve years of age, which is certainly very pretty, 
and very creditable too, for one at that early age, 
who had never beheld those innumerable forms and 
images in the material world, whose mission it seems 
to be to excite in man a love of the beautiful. 

During his boyhood he was sent to school, where, in 
spite of his misfortunes, he made rapid progress. His 
instruction must have been, for the most part, oral. 
We are told that he endeared himself to his school- 
fellows by those amiable traits for which he was so 
much distinguished and so greatly beloved in after life. 
Young Blacldock, when only nineteen years of age, lost 
his father. That noble man was suddenly deprived 
of his hfe by an accident to which he was exposed 
in pursuing his humble but honest avocation. The 
situation of the young poet was now gloomy enough. 
Deprived of the sympathy and assistance of one whose 
tenderness, as he afterwards expressed it, anticipated 
his every wish, without any means of regular employ- 
ment, how could he now continue the pursuit of knowl- 
edge, which could alone enable him to realize that 
bright dream of fame that fired his youthful imagina- 
tion. But he seems, however, to have found many 
friends at this time, and to have become more widely 


known. His uncommon talents and his destitute situa- 
tion early introduced him to the attention and sympa- 
thy of men of letters. About a year after the death of 
his father, he was invited to take up his residence in 
the Scotch metropolis ; accordingly, he proceeded at 
once to Edinburgh, under the patronage of Dr. Steven- 
son, a gentleman of taste, and a distinguished physi- 
cian, who placed Blacklock at the university in that 
city, and generously defrayed the ex])ense of his edu- 
cation. Here he continued the study of the Latin lan- 
guage, which he had commenced at the grammar 
school. He also acquired a thorough acquaintance 
with the Greek, and his biographers say that he was 
able to read books written in these languages with great 
ease and facility; by which it was meant, of course, 
he was able to understand them when read to him. It 
is also added, that he could converse in French with 
ease and correctness. It seems he had spent some time 
in a family of his acquaintance, Mr. Alexander, whose 
lady was a Parisian, and it was by daily conversation 
with her that he learned to speak the French lan- 

After he had been four years at the university, he 
removed into the country, on the breaking out of the 
rebellion. It was at this time that he published a 
small collection of his poems, at Glasgow, to gratify 
his personal friends. After tranquillity was restored, 
he returned again to the university and resumed his 
studies. During the six remaining years he spent at 
the university, he wrote several of his best poems. 
About the year 1754, he published a second edition of 
his poems, very much enlarged and improved. These 
attracted the attention of Mr. Spence, professor of 
poetry at Oxford. This gentleman, in a long and able 


critical essay, may be said to have first made the world 
acquainted with the literary attainments of the blind 
poet It is from Mr. Spence's account of his life that 
we are principally indebted for this brief sketch. In 
1755, having completed the course of studies required 
by the church of Scotland, he was licensed by the 
Presbytery, and he was soon after inducted to the 
church of Kirkcudbright, on the presentation of the 
Earl of Selkirk. The inhabitants of the place, how- 
ever, manifested opposition to the arrangement ; though 
undoubtedly blind enough themselves, they did not like 
the idea of having a bhnd clergyman. He was soon 
induced to resign his situation for a small annuity. 
Being married, he returned to Edinburgh, and opened a 
boarding-house for young persons, whose studies he 
proposed to superintend. The third edition of his 
poems appeared in 1756. Ten years afterwards, he 
had conferred upon him the degree of doctor of divin- 
ity. He devoted the remainder of his life entirely to 
literary pursuits, and may be said to have acquired a 
high character among the hterary men of his day. 
Indeed, Burke, and many of his contemporaries men- 
tion him as the wonder of his age. He died at the age 
of seventy, in 1791.* 

That Dr. Blacklock possessed a remarkable intel- 
lect cannot be denied by those who have read his 
poetical and prose productions. He possessed what 
is called an active mind and a discriminating judgment. 

* Kecent speculations upon the effects of blindness have led some to 
believe that instances of long life are rarer among the blind than the 
deaf and dumb. It is, however, a remarkable fact, that the instances 
of eminent blind men, recorded in history, go to prove the fallacy of 
these speculations. Saunderson lived to be fifly-seven years of age, 
and Blacklock, we have seen, lived the whole of the allotted period of 


Like all blind persons, he had a retentive memory and 
a wonderful power of concentration. It is not at all 
improbable, that, if his attention had been given in 
early life to the study of mathematics and the physical 
sciences, he would have equalled Saunderson ; but his 
mind received a different direction. He was operated 
upon by different external circumstances, and, of course, 
became altogether a different man. He seems to have 
been endowed by nature with a highly poetical temper- 
ament, — was keenly alive to the beautiful, wherever 
he could perceive it, whether in the workings of his 
own soul or in the material world around him. From 
his earliest days he seems to have derived exquisite 
delight from poetry and music ; and he devoted him- 
self to the cultivation of the former with a patience 
and assiduity worthy the fame that he afterwards 
acquired. His faculty for versification was very great. 
He sometimes would dictate twenty or thirty verses, 
nearly as fast as his friend could write them, and he 
was never guilty of prostituting the muse for the base 
purpose of inflaming the passions, or of pandering to the 
corrupt taste of the multitude. He loved virtue, and 
for its own sake. And he loathed and abhorred vice 
wherever it existed, or under whatever name it pre- 
sented itself* He maintained through life a very 
exemplary moral character. He cultivated only those 
graces and accomplishments that distinguish alike the 
gentleman, the scholar, and the Christian. Those 
Avho had the pleasure of his personal acquaintance, 
represent him as possessing great conversational powers, 
and as being a very agreeable companion in social life. 
Though keenly sensible of the nature of the misfortune 

* See his Elegy on Constantia. 


to which he was subjected, yet, nevertheless, he was 
uniformly cheerful. He sometimes indulged in satire, 
but never at another's expense, or, as he says himself, 
he " never endeavored to be witty by torturing com- 
mon sense." His poem on the "Refinements in Meta- 
physical Philosophy" will compare well with "English 
Bards and Scotch Reviewers." It has all the wit, 
though free from the bitterness of Byron. Take the 
following for an example : 

"False wisdom, fly, with all thy owls ; 
The dust and cobwebs of the schools 

For me have charms no more. 
The gross Minerva of our days 
In mighty bulk my learned essays 

Reads joyful o'er and o'er. 

Led by her hand a length of time, 

Through sense and nonsense, prose and rh)Tne, 

I beat my painful way ; 
Long, long revolved the mystic page 
Of many a Dutch and German sage, 

And hoped at last for day. 

But as the mole hid under ground 

Still works more dark as more profound, 

So all my toils were vain ; 
For truth and sense indignant fly, 
As far as ocean from the sky, 

From all the formal train. 

The Stagyrite, whose fruitful quill 
O'er free-born nature lords it still, 

Sustained by form and phrase 
Of dire portent and solemn sound, 
Where meaning seldom can be found, 

From me shall gain no praise. 

But you who would be truly wise, — 
To nature's light unveil your eyes, 
Her gentle call obey ; — 


She leads by no false, wandering glare, 
No voice ambiguous strikes j'^our ear, 
To bid you vainly stray." 

We intimated, at the commencement of this article, 
that the highest kind of poetry, — that which approxi- 
mates nearest to painting, descriptive poetry, — was that 
in which a person born bhnd would be least likely 
to excel. Dr. Blacklock made several very successful 
attempts to delineate external nature, and to describe 
those objects around him, and the varied phenomena 
which the material world presents, but of which he 
conld know nothing, excepting that which he obtained 
from the necessarily very imperfect descriptions of 
others; yet, nevertheless, in many of his pictures he 
was surprisingly true and exact. We have before us 
an English copy of the third edition of his works. 
One of the best poems it contains is his hymn to the 
Supreme Being. In the following extract, in which 
he represents the dawn of creation, there is something 
truly sublime. As we read it we cannot help feeling 
a deep regret that the writer should never have seen. 

" Arise, my soul ! on wings seraphic rise. 
And praise th' Almighty Sovereign of the skies ; 
In whom alone essential glory shines, 
"Which not the heaven of heavens, nor boundless space confi les. 

When darkness ruled with universal sway. 
He spoke, and kindled up the blaze of day ; 
. First, fairest offspring of the omnific word ! 
Which like a garment clothed its Sovereign Lord. 
On liquid air he bade the columns rise 
That prop the starry concave of the skies ; 
Diffused the blue expanse from pole to pole, 
And spread circumfluent ether round the whole. 

Soon as he bids impetuous tempests fly, 
To wing his sounding chariot through the sky, 
Impetuous tempests the command obey, 
Sustain his flight, and sweep the aerial way. 


Fraught with his mandates, from the reahns on high, 
Unnumbered hosts of radiant heralds fly 
From orb to orb, with progress unconfined, 
As lightning swift, resistless as the wind. 

In ambient air this ponderous ball he hung, 
And bade its centre rest forever strong ; — 
Heaven, aii', and sea, with all their storms, in vain 
Assault the basis of the firm machine. 

At thy Almighty voice old ocean raves. 
Shakes all his force, and gathers all his waves ; 
Nature lies mantled in a watery robe. 
And shoreless billows revel round the globe ; 
O'er highest hills the highest surges rise. 
Mix with the clouds, and meet the fluid skies. 
But when in thunder the rebuke was given, 
That shook the eternal firmament of heaven. 
The grand rebuke the afirighted waves obey, 
And in confusion scour their uncouth way ; 
And posting rapid to the place decreed. 
Wind down the hills, and sweep the humble mead." 

His picture of a lion has something in it very strik- 
ing. It will be observed, that he mentions only those 
peculiarities that a seeing person would be likely to 
refer to in describing the noble animal to a blind per- 
son; as, the terrific growl, the heavy tramp, the 
shaggy mane, glaring eye, &c. See the followingj 
from the same poem as the preceding : 

" At his command, wide hovering o'er the plain, 
Primeval night resumes her gloomy reign : 
Then from their dens, impatient of delay, 
The savage monsters bend their speedy way, — 
Howl through the spacious waste, and chase their frighted prey. 
Here stalks the shaggy monarch of the wood, 
Taught from thy Providence to ask his food, — 
To thee, 0, Father ! to thy bounteous skies. 
He rears his mane and rolls his glaring eyes. 
He roars ! the desert trembles wide around, 
And repercussive hills repeat the sound." 


Our author succeeded better in painting the work- 
ings of the passions. His pastorals display great 
refinement of taste and true sensibility. He speaks 
of love with all the fervor and enthusiasm of one who 
has felt its power without ever seeing the object by 
which it was awakened. See his pastoral inscribed 
to Euanthe, and " The Plaintive Shepherd," a pastoral 
elegy. We would also instance his "Elegy on the 
Death of Mr. Pope," as a very able production. He 
refers to all of Pope's works, and shows good sense by 
eulogizing his translation of the Iliad, which is des- 
tined to survive the memory of those who have ridi- 
culed it. It is quite delightful to see how prettily and 
appropriately our author refers to the flowers in this 
elegy, which is decidedly one of his happiest produc- 
tions, — when he summoned the maids of Windsor to 
garnish the tomb of his favorite with the fairest flow- 
ers of spring : 

" Ye tuneful shepherds, and ye beauteous maids, 
From far Ladona's banks, and Windsor's shades, 
Whose souls in transports melted at his song, 
Soft as his sighs, and as your wishes strong ; 
0, come ! your copious annual tribute bring, — 
The full luxuriance of the rifled spring ; 
Strip various Nature of each fairest flower, 
And on his tomb the gay profusion shower. 
Let long-lived pansies here their scents bestow, 
The violets languish, and the roses glow ; 
In yellow glory let the crocus shine, 
Narcissus here his love-sick head recline ; 
Here, hyacinths in purple sweetness rise, 
And tulips tinged with beauty's fairest dyes." 

Throughout all his works, Dr. Blacklock manifests 
his strong faith in God, and his hope for the final 
redemption of humanity. His great heart overflowed 


with benevolence for all mankind. In many of his 
sweetest strains he breathes forth his gratitude for the 
favors he has received from his friends. The only 
decidedly melancholy poem in the work before us is that 
in which the writer refers to a narrow escape from 
falling into a well, from which he was only preserved 
by the sound of his favorite lap-dog's feet, who was 
playing upon the board with which the well was par- 
tially covered. The poem is written in the syllogistic 
form. Observe how feelingly he refers to his blind- 
ness. The extract is long, but we cannot very well 
omit it : 

" For oh ! while others gaze on Nature's face, 
The verdant vale, the mountains, woods, and streams, 
Or, with delight ineffable, survey 
The sun, — bright image of his parent, God ; — 
The seasons, in majestic order, round 
This varied globe revolving ; young-eyed spring, 
Profuse of life and joy ; — summer, adorned 
With keen effulgence, bright' ning heaven and earth ; — 
Autumn, replete with Nature's various boon, 
To bless the toiling hind ; and winter, grand 
"With rapid storms, convulsing Nature's frame ; — 
Whilst others view heaven's all-involving arch. 
Bright with unnumbered worlds, and, lost in joy, 
Fair order and utility behold ; — 
Or, unfatigued, the amazing chain pursue, 
Which in one vast, all-comprehending whole 
Unites the immense, stupendous works of God, 
Conjoining part with part, and through the frame 
Diffusing sacred harmony and joy ; — 
To me those fair vicissitudes are lost, 
And grace and beauty blotted from my view. 
The verdant vale, the mountains, woods, and streams, 
One horrid blank appear." 

It is a common opinion, that those who are deprived 
of sight early in life, or who are born blind, live in a 


State of blissful ignorance in regard to all those things 
that can only be perceived by the eye. This, however, 
is a great mistake; it is a fallacy to suppose that we 
are incapable of forming an estimate of anything 
excepting that which we have actually enjoyed. 
There can be no doubt that our author, possessing a 
lively imagination and a keen susceptibility to the 
beautiful, was not only fully conscious of the many 
disadvantages to which* his misfortune subjected him, 
but actually exaggerated them. For sometimes he 
speaks of the beautiful as if it existed only in the 
objective, — as if the flowers and the stars were of 
themselves beautiful, when, if this were true, it would 
have been impossible for him to have described them 
so accurately. If the principle of beauty was not 
purely subjective, he could not have furnished to the 
world such a ravishing picture of nature as is contained 
in the work before us. 

One of Blacklock's contemporaries, when speaking 
of his poetry, said " it was wanting in force;" accord- 
ingly, every one who has subsequent! j'' favored the 
world with criticisms upon his works, has felt cal- 
led on to repeat this objection with a pitiable ex- 
actness. We have preferred, however, to read Mr. 
Blacklock's poems with some attention ; and so far as 
we are capable of forming a judgment of the subject, 
assign Blacklock, without hesitation, a respectable 
rank among the second-class poets'of England. We 
think our readers will agree with us, that the short 
extracts we have already given, — and they by no 
means constitute the best that might haA^e been selected, 
— will compare well with passages of the same length 
selected from the writings of Scott, Campbell, and 
Pope. And if we take the poems of Dr. Blacklock as 


a whole, and judge of them as they should he judged, 
— by the effect they produce upon the mind and the 
heart, — they are infinitely superior to much that Byron 
wrote. We by no means would be understood as 
claiming for our author such a vigorous intellect as 
the immortal author of Childe Harold possessed, but 
he had not his dark and malignant passions. In the 
moral world they were antipodes. Byron was endowed 
with intellect, imagination, — was favored in every 
respect by fortune, although he constantly complains 
through all his writings, that he was not. No man 
was ever so highly favored by Heaven. None was 
ever more ungrateful. Who can ever estimate the 
mischief his writings have accomplished, — who can 
tell how much they have done to deprave the taste 
and corrupt the morals of mankind 7 The most beau- 
tiful passages he ever wrote are found in " Don Juan," 
which no pure person can read without requiring 
regeneration. And in his shorter sketches, as well as in 
his longer poems, there is but little to admire, except, 
indeed, you can be pleased with egotism, sensualism, 
and misanthropy. Widely different is the effect of th 
poems now under consideration, — as different, indeea, 
as were the circumstances of their author. Blacklock, 
though, as we have seen, deprived of sight at the 
dawn of existence, and compelled for the greater part 
of his life, to contend with poverty, and a thousand 
other evils, from which Byron was exempt, yet we 
never find him complaining of his lot, without testify- 
ing, at the same time, in the liveliest manner, his grati- 
tude to "benignant Heaven," and to the generous 
friends by whom he was surrounded. Take, for exam- 
ple, the following extracts, in which, after speaking of 
his misfortunes, he reproaches himself for his selfish- 


ness, and in a beautiful and pious strain testifies his 
gratitude to God. 

"What then, — because the indulgent Sire of all 
Has in the plan of things prescribed my sphere ; 
Because consummate Wisdom thought not fit 
In affluence and pomp to bid me shine, 
Shall I regret my destiny, and curse 
That state by Heaven's paternal care designed 
To train me up for scenes, with which compared, 
These ages, measured by the orbs of heaven, 
In blank annihilation fade away ? " 

And again, — 

" Before the Almighty voice 
From non-existence called me into life, 
What claim had I to being ? what to shine 
In this high rank of creatures formed to climb 
The steep ascent of virtue unrelaxed, 
Till infinite perfection crown their toil ? " 

And again, from the same, — 

"Hush, then, my heart! with pious cares suppress 
This tumid pride and impotence of soul." 

Again, — 

" Then with becoming rev'rence let each powet 
In deep attention hear the voice of God ; 
That awful voice, which, speaking to the soul, 
Commands its resignation to his law ! " 

Besides those to which we have already referred, 
there are other poems of great merit in the work before 
us. The hymn to Divine Love, in imitation of Spen- 
ser, is very well executed. So, too, is his imitation of 
one of the odes of Horace, and several of the Psalms 
of David. We notice, also, several pithy epigrams, 
and a very amusing sketch, m which the author 


endeavors to delineate himself, which we regret we 
we are unable to transcribe for want of space. We 
have said so much of the poetical that we have but 
little time to remark upon the prose productions of Dr. 
Blacklock. His paper upon blindness, in the Ency- 
clopedia Britannica, is a masterly production and dis- 
plays great learning and research. His Essay on the 
Immortality of the Soul, manifests great philosophical 
acumen, and proves that the poet was also a logician. 
We would likewise mention his short "Address upon 
Friendship," as a very creditable performance. He 
wrote, during his life, several other miscellaneous arti- 
cles which we have not seen. Upon the whole. Dr. 
Blacklock was a remarkable man ; and considering 
the disadvantages under which he labored, his want 
of sight, poverty, &c., and the attainments he made in 
literature and science, and more especially in poetry, 
he deserves a high place among the distinguished men 
of his day ; and no one can with justice withhold from 
him that admiration to which a truly poetical geniv.s 
and superior moral worth are entitled. 




"My dear Friend: 

'' In my previous letters, I have given you an ac- 
count of the blind ; I have also occasionally referred 
to the deaf and dumb, and have spoken somewhat at 
length of the effects of each of these calamities upon the 
intellectual and moral development. You may, per- 
haps, have thought that I sometimes overrated the 
advantages which the former of these classes enjoy 
over the latter, in the pursuit of knowledge. I have, 
however, expressed my opinion that the deaf-mute can 
greatly surpass the blind, in almost all the avocations, 
of life. He can go into the workshop, the counting- 
room, or till the soil, as though he did not suffer from 
any deprivation. Not so with the blind man, for sight 
is necessary to enable one to make a successful me- 
chanic, merchant, or farmer; but, in estimating the 
comparative value of the senses, we ought not merely 
to look at the physical advantages (if I may so speak) 
which they confer ; we should take into consideration 
the influence which they each exert upon the develop- 
ment of the mind. Now, we freely admit, that sight 
is the most important of our senses, so far as the physi- 
cal world is concerned ; but we do maintain, that for 
the cultivation of the intellectual and moral nature, 
hearing is of more importance than sight; and it was 
this consideration that led us to say, that we preferred 


our own condition to that of the deaf-mute. If I could 
not enjoy both, I would much rather hear the voice 
than see the face of those I love. However, those who 
have all their senses, may, like you, my dear friend, 
disagree with me. There is one fact which cannot be 
evaded nor set aside, to which I have referred in my 
previous letters upon this subject; viz. — that there 
have been, in every age, blind men who were distin- 
themselves for their scientific and literary attain- 
ments, while I do not remember a single instance of 
the kind among the deaf and dumb.* It is not my 
purpose, however, to enlarge upon this subject. You 
are, I am sure, fully aware of the great advantages 
which each of the senses confer, and I feel confident 
that you deeply sympathize with those who are de- 
prived of any of them, for it is sad to reflect, that there 
are, in our own country, thousands of human beings 
who have never seen the light of day, nor the smile 
»that wreathes the lip with gladness ; and probably as 
many more who have never heard the music of 
nature, nor the deeper, richer music of the voice di- 
vine. There are a few instances on record, of persons 
who have been deprived of two, and even three, out 
of the five senses, — who have not only been blind, but 
deaf and dumb. It would seem, at first thought, that 
the situation of such a being must be without allevia- 
tion; but human ingenuity and benevolence have suc- 
ceeded in devising means of imparting, to one thus cut 
off from communication with the world, the inestimable 
advantages of education. I told 3'"ou, in my last letter, 
that I Avould give you some account of Laura Bridg- 

* It is but fair, liowever, to state here, that the deaf and dumb have 
excelled in the cultivation of some of the fine arts ; as, for instance,— 
engraving, sculpture, painting, &c. 


man and Oliver Caswell, whose unfortunate situation 
and remarkable mental and moral powers have awa- 
kened in the community a deep interest ; for you 
know that they have neither seen nor heard anything 
from their earliest infancy. They are inmates of the 
Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the 
Blind, in this city. All that we know of them is con- 
tained in the Annual Reports of this establishment, 
from which we shall make copious extracts. Nothing 
need be said in praise of Dr. Howe, who has revealed 
to these victims of misfortune sources of deep and 
never-ending enjoyment, by imparting to them, through 
the medium of their only remaining sense, knowledge 
of language, by which they can communicate with 
those around them and acquire ideas of men and 
things. If there be happiness in the reflection of hav- 
ing mitigated the most appalling form of suffering to 
which a human being can ever be subjected, it is his. - 

We commence our extracts from the reports referred 
to above by observing, that those which we shall select 
are designed not to gratify the' metaphysician and psy- 
chologist, but the general reader. 

Laura Bridgman was born in Hanover, New Hamp- 
shire, on the twenty-first of December, 1829. "She 
is described as having been a very sprightly and pretty 
infant, with bright blue eyes. She was, however, so 
puny and feeble until she was a year and a half old, 
that her parents hardly hoped to rear her. She was 
subject to severe fits, which seemed to rack her frame 
almost beyond her power of endurance; and life was 
held by the feeblest tenure; but when a year and a 
half old, she seemed to rally ; the dangerous symptoms 
subsided; and at twenty months old, she was per- 
fectly well. 


" Then her mental powers, hitherto stinted in their 
growth, rapidly developed themselves ; and during the 
four months of health which she enjoyed, she appears 
(making due allowance for a fond mother's account) 
to have displayed a considerable degree of intelligence. 

" But suddenly she sickened again ; her disease 
raged with great violence during five weeks, when her 
eyes and ears were inflamed, suppurated, and their 
contents were discharged. But though sight and hear- 
ing were gone forever, the poor child's sufferings were 
not ended. The fever raged during seven weeks ; for 
five months she was kept in bed in a darkened rooraj 
it was a year before she could walk unsupported, and 
two years before she could sit up all day. It was now 
observed that her sense of smell was almost entirely 
destroyed ; and, consequently, that her taste was much 

" It was not until four years of age that the poor 
child's bodily health seemed restord, aned she was 
able to enter upon her apprenticeship of life and the 

'' But what a situation was hers ! The darkness 
and the silence of the tomb were around her; no 
mother's smile called forth her answering smile, — no 
father's voice taught her to imitate his sounds ; they, 
brothers and sisters, were but forms of matter which 
resisted her touch, but which differed not from the fur- 
niture of the house, save in warmth, and in the power 
of locomotion ; and not even in these respects from the 
dog and the cat. 

" But the immortal spirit which had been implanted 
within her could not die, nor be maimed nor mutilated ; 
and, though most of its avenuesof communication with 
the world were cut off, it began to manifest itself 


ihrough the others. As soon as ^he could walk, she 
began to explore the room, and then the house ; she 
became familiar with the form, density, and weight, and 
heat of every article she could lay her hands upon. 
She followed her mother, and felt her hands and arms, 
as she was occupied about the house ; and her dispo- 
sition to imitate, led her to repeat everything herself. 
She even learned to sew a little and to knit. 

" The reader will scarcely need to be told, however, 
that the opportunities of communicating with her were 
very, very limited ; and that the moral effects of her 
wretched state soon began to appear. Those who cannot 
be enlightened by reason, can only be controlled by force; 
and this, coupled with her great privations, must soon 
have reduced her to a worse condition than that of the 
beasts that perish, but for timely and unhoped-for aid. 

"At this time, I was so fortunate as to hear of the 
child, and immediately hastened to Hanover to see 
her. I found her with a well-formed figure ; a strong- 
ly-marked, nervous-sanguine temperament ; a large 
and beautiful-shaped head, and the whole system in 
healthy action. The parents were easily induced to 
consent to her coming to Boston, and on the fourth of 
October, 1837, they brought her to the Institution. 

"For a while, she was much bewildered; and after 
waiting about two weeks, until she became acquainted 
with her new locahty, and somewhat familiar with the 
inmates, the attempt was made to give her knowledge 
of arbitrary signs, by which she could interchange 
thoughts with others. 

"There was one of two ways to be adopted; either 
to go on to build up a language of signs on the basis 
of the natural language which she had already com- 
menced herself, or to teach her the purely arbitrary 


language in common use ; that is, to give her a sign 
for every individual thing, or to give her a knowledge 
of letters by combination of which, she might express 
her idea of the existence, and the mode and condition 
of existence of anything. The former would have 
been easy, but very ineffectual ; the latter seemed very 
difficult, but, if accomplished, very effectual. I deter- 
mined, therefore, to try the latter. 

" The first experiments were made by taking articles 
in common use, such as knives, forks, spoons, keys, 
&c., and pasting upon them labels, "w^ith their names 
printed in raised letters. These she felt very carefully, 
and soon, of course, distinguished that the crooked lines 
sp 00 71, differed as much from the crooked lines k ey, 
as the spoon differed from the key in form. 

" Then small detached labels, with the same words 
prmted upon them, were put into her hands ; and she 
soon observed that they were similar to the ones pasted 
on the articles. She showed her perception of this 
similarity by laying the label keyw^on the key, and 
the label spoon upon the spoon. She was encour- 
aged here by the natural sign of approbation, patting 
on the head. 

" The same process was then repeated with all the 
articles which she could handle ; and she very easily 
learned to place the proper labels upon them. It was 
evident, however, that the only intellectual exercise 
was that of imitation and memory. She recollected 
that the label book was placed upon a book, and she 
repeated the process first from imitation, next from 
memory, with only the motive of love of approbation, 
but apparently without the intellectual perception of 
any relation between the things. 

" After a while, instead of labels, the individual 


letters were given to her on detached bits of paper; 
they were arranged side by side so as to spell book, 
key^ &c. ; then tliey were mixed up in a heap, and a 
sign was made for her to arrange them herself, so 
as to express the words hook, k e y, &c. ; and she did 

" Hitherto, the process had been mechanical, and the 
success about as great as teaching a very knowing dog 
a variety of tricks. The poor child had sat in mute 
amazement, and patiently imitated everything her 
teacher did ; but now the truth began to flash upon 
her; her intellect began to work; she perceived that 
here was a way by which she could herself make up a 
sign of anything that was in her own mind, and show 
it to another mind; and at once her countenance 
lighted up with a human expression ; it was no longer 
a dog, or parrot; it was an immortal spirit, eagerly 
seizing upon a new link of union with other spirits ! I 
could almost fix upon the moment when this truth 
dawned upon her mind, and spread its light to her 
countenance. I saw that the great obstacle was over- 
come, and that henceforward, nothing but patient and 
persevering, but plain and straightforward efforts were 
to be used. 

" The result, thus far, is quickly related, and easily 
conceived ; but not so was the process ; for many 
weeks of apparently unprofitable labor were passed 
before it was effected. 

" When it was said above, that a sign was made, it 
Avas intended to say, that the action was performed by 
her teacher, she feeling his hands, and then imitating 
the motion. 

" The next step was to procure a set of metal types, 
with the different letters of the alphabet cast upon their 


ends ; also a board, in which were square holes, into 
which holes she could set the types ; so that the letters 
on their ends could alone be felt above the surface. 

" Then, on any article being handed to her, for in- 
stance, a pencil, or a watch, she would select the com- 
ponent letters, and arrange them on her board, and 
read them with apparent pleasure. 

" She was exercised for several weeks in this way, 
until her vocabulary became extensive ; and then the 
important step was taken of teaching her how to rep- 
resent the diiferent letters by the position of her fingers, 
instead of the cumbrous apparatus of the board and 
types. She accomplished this speedily and easily, for 
her intellect had begun to work in aid of her teacher, 
and her progress was rapid. 

" This was the period, about three months after she 
had commenced, that the first report of her case was 
made, in which it is stated that 'she has just learned 
the manual alphabet, as used by the deaf mutes, and it 
is a subject of delight and wonder to see how rapidly, 
correctly, and eagerly, she goes on with her labors. 
Her teacher gives her a new object, for instance, .a 
pencil ; first lets her examine it, and get an idea of its 
use, then teaches her how to spell it by making the 
signs for the letters with her own fingers ; the child 
grasps her hand, and feels her fingers, as the difterent 
letters are formed. She turns her head a little on one 
side, like a person listening closely; her lips are apart; 
she seems scarcely to breathe; and her countenance, 
at first anxious, gradually changes to a smile, as she 
comprehends a lesson. She then holds up her tiny 
fingers, and spells the word in the manual alphabet; 
next, she takes her types and arranges her letters ; and 
last, to make sure that she is right, she takes the 


whole of the types composing the word, and places 
them upon or in contact with the pencil, or whatever 
the object may be.' 

" The whole of the succeeding year was passed in 
gratifying her eager inquiries for the names of every 
object which she could possibly handle; in exercising 
her in the use of the manual alphabet ; in extending in 
every possible way her knowledge of the physical rela- 
tions of things ; and in proper care of her health. 

" At the end of the year, a report of her case was 
made, from which the following is an extract : 

" ' It has been ascertained, beyond the possibility of 
doubt, that she cannot see a ray of light, cannot hear 
the least sound, and never exercises her sense of smell, 
if she have any. Thus her mind dwells in darkness 
and stillness, as profound as that of a closed tomb at 
midnight. Of beautiful sights, and sweet sounds, and 
pleasant odors, she has no conception ; nevertheless, 
she seems as happy and playful as a bird or a lamb ; 
and the employment of her intellectual faculties, or the 
acquirement of a new idea, gives her a vivid pleasure, 
which is plainly marked in her expressive features. 
She never seems to repine, but has all the buoyancy 
and gayety of childhood. She is fond of fun and frolic, 
and when playing with the rest of the children, her 
shrill laugh sounds loudest of the group. 

'"When left alone, she seems very happy if she 
have her knitting or sewing, and will busy herself for 
hours ; if she have no occupation, she evidently amuses 
herself by imaginary dialogues, or by recalling past 
impressions ; she counts with her fingers, or spells out 
names of things which she has recently learned, in the 
manual alphabet of the deaf mutes. In this lonely 
self-communion she seems to reason, reflect, and argue j 


if she spell a word wrong with the fuigers of her right 
hand, she instantly strikes it with her left, as her 
teacher does, in sign of disapprobation ; if right, then 
she pats herself upon the head, and looks pleased. She 
sometimes purposely spells a word wrong with her left 
hand, looks roguish and laughs, and then with the 
right hand strikes the left, as if to correct it. 

" ' During the year, she has attained great dexterity 
in the use of the manual alphabet of the deaf mutes ; 
and she spells out the words and sentences which she 
knows, so fast and so deftly, that only those accus- 
tomed to this language can follow with the eye the 
rapid motions of her fingers. 

" ' But wonderful as is the rapidity with which she 
writes her thoughts upon the air, still more so is the 
ease and accuracy with which she reads the words 
thus written by another ; grasping their hands in hers, 
and following every movement of their fingers, as letter 
after letter conveys their meaning to her mind. It is in 
this way that she converses with her blind playmates, 
and nothing can more forcibly show the power of mind 
in forcing matter to its purpose, than a meeting between 
them. For if great talent and skill are necessary for 
two pantomimes to paint their thoughts and feelings by 
the movements of the body, and the expression of the 
countenance, how much greater the difiiculty when 
darkness shrouds them both, and the one can hear no 
sound ! 

" ' When Laura is walking through a passage-way, 
with her hands spread before her, she knows instantly 
every one she meets, and passes them with a sign of 
recognition; but if it be a girl of her own age, and 
especially if it be one of her favorites, there is instantly 
a bright smile of recognition, and a twining of arras, a 


grasping of hands, and a swift telegraphing upon the tiny 
fingers; whose rapid evolution conveys the thoughts and 
feelings from the outposts of one mind to those of the 
other. There are questions and answers, exchanges 
of joy or sorrow, — there are kissings and partings, just 
as between little children with all their senses.' 

" During this year, and six months after she had left 
home, her mother came to visit her, and the scene of 
their meeting was an interesting one. 

" The mother stood some time, gazing with over- 
flowing eyes upon her unfortunate child, who, all 
unconscious of her presence, was playing about the 
room. Presently, Laura ran against her, and at once 
began feeling her hands, examining her dress, and try- 
ing to find out if she knew her ; but not succeeding in 
this, she turned away as from a stranger, and the poor 
woman could not conceal the pang she felt at finding 
that her beloved child did not know her. 

"She then gave Laura a string of beads which she 
used to wear at home, which were recognized by the 
child at once, who, with much joy, put them around 
her neck, and sought me eagerly to say she understood 
the string was from her home. 

" The mother now tried to caress her, but poor 
Laura repelled her, preferring to be with her acquaint- 

" Another article from home was now given her, and 
she began to look much interested ; she examined the 
stranger much closer, and gave me to understand that 
she knew she came from Hanover; she even endured 
her caresses, but would leave her with indifference at 
the slightest signal. The distress of the mother was 
now painful to behold; for, although she had feared 
that she should not be recognized, the painful reality 


of being treated with cold indifference by a darling 
child, was too much for woman's nature to bear. 

"After a while, on the mother taking hold of her 
again, a vague idea seemed to flit across Laura's mind, 
tliat this could not be a stranger ; she therefore felt her 
'hands very eagerly, while her countenance assumed 
an expression of intense interest ; she became very 
pale, and then suddenly red ; hope seemed struggling 
with doubt and anxiety, and never were contending 
emotions more strongly painted upon the human face ; 
at this moment of painful uncertainty, the mother drew 
her close to her side, and kissed her fondly, when at 
once the truth flashed upon the child, and all mistrust 
and anxiety disappeared from her face, as with an 
expression of exceeding joy she eagerly nestled to the 
bosom of her parent, and yielded herself to her fond 

" After this, the beads were all unheeded ; the play- 
things which were offered to her were utterly disre- 
garded ; her playmates, for whom but a moment before 
she gladly left the straflger, now vainly strove to pull 
her from her mother ; and though she yielded her usual 
instantaneous obedience to my signal ft) follow me, it 
was evidently with painful reluctance. She clung 
close to me, as if bewildered and fearful ; and when, 
after a moment, I took her to her mother, she sprang 
to her arms, and clung to her with eager joy. 

"The subsequent parting between them, showed 
alike the affection, the intelligence, and the resolution 
of the child. 

" Laura accompanied her mother to the door, cling- 
ing close to her all the way, until they arrived at the 
threshold, where she paused, and felt around, to ascer- 
tain who was near her. Perceiving the matron, of 


whom she is very fond, she grasped her with one hand, 
holding on convulsively to her mother with the other ; 
and thus she stood for a moment; then she dropped 
her mother's hand; put her handkerchief to her eyes; 
and turning round, clung sobbing to the matron ; while 
her mother departed, with emotions as deep as those 
of her child. 

*Jt- JL. Ji. Jt ^ Jt; 

'JV- -TV* 'A* '?v* TT -TV 

" It has been remarked in former reports, that she 
can distinguish different degrees of intellect in others, 
and that she soon regarded almost with contempt, a 
new comer, when, after a few days, she discovered her 
weakness of mind. This unamiable part of her charac- 
ter has been more strongly developed during the past 

"She chooses for her friends and companions those 
children who are intelligent, and can talk best with 
her ; and she evidently dislikes to be with those who 
are deficient in intellect, unless, indeed, she can make 
them serve her purposes, which she is evidently in- 
clined to do. She takes advantage of them, and makes 
them wait upon her, in a manner that she knows she 
could not exact of others ; and in various ways she 
shows her Saxon blood. 

"She is fond of having other children noticed and 
caressed by the teachers, and those whom she respects ; 
but this must not be carried too far, or she becomes 
jealous. She wants to have her share, which, if not 
the lion's, is the greater part ; and if she does not get 
it, she says, ' My Mother will love me.^ 

" Her tendency to imitation is so strong, that it leads 

her to actions which must be entirely incomprehensible 

to her, and which can give her no other pleasure than 

the gratification of an internal faculty. She has been 



known to sit for half an hour, holding a book before 
her sightless eyes, and moving her lips as she has 
observed seeing people do when reading. 

*' She one day pretended that her doll was sick, and 
went through all the motions of tending it and giving 
it medicine ; she then put it carefully to bed, and placed 
a bottle of hot water to its feet, laughing all the time 
most heartily. When I came home she insisted upon 
my going to see it and feel its pulse ; and when I told 
her to put a blister on its back, she seemed to enjoy it 
amazingly, and almost screamed with delight. 

" Her social feelings and her affections are very 
strong; and when she is sitting at work, or at her 
studies, by the side of one of her little friends, she will 
break off from her task every few moments to hug and 
kiss them with an earnestness and warmth that is 
touching to behold. 

"When left alone, she occupies and apparently 
amuses herself, and seems quite contented; and so 
strong seems to be the natural tendency of thought to 
put on the garb of language, that she often soliloquizes 
in the finger language^ slow and tedious as it is. But 
it is only when alone that she is quiet; for if she 
become sensible of the presence of any one near her, 
she is restless until she can sit close beside them, hold 
their hands and converse with them by signs. 

" In her intellectual character it is pleasing to observe 
an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and a quick percep- 
tion of the relations of things. In her moral character 
it is beautiful to behold her continual gladness, her 
keen enjoyment of existence, her expansive love, her 
unhesitating confidence, her sympathy with suffering, 
her conscientiousness, truthfulness, and hopefulness." 


The foregoing extracts are taken from some of the 
earliest reports, after Laura entered the institution, to 
which we add another from one of a later date. The 
following remarks from the Eleventh Annual Report, 
made in 1843, show how the more difficult task was 
accomplished of giving her a knowledge of the qual- 
ities of things ; as sweet, sour, pleasant, bitter, &c. It 
is singular to observe how comparatively easy it was 
for Laura to learn the use of those words which ex- 
press action, and for which there was no tangible 
illustration. But we find, she not only accustomed 
herself to use adjectives, but verbs and even pronouns, 
prepositions, &c., with great facility and correctness; 
but we will let the extract speak for itself. 

"Some kind of language seems necessary for every 
human being; the cravings of the social nature are 
loud and constant, and cannot be gratified except by 
some medium of communication for the feelings. The 
intellect cannot be developed unless all the modifica- 
tions of thought have some sign even, by which they 
can be recalled. Hence men are compelled by a kind 
of inward force to form languages ; and they do form 
them under all and every circumstance. The social 
organ presents the natural and most perfect medium 
through which, by attaching a meaning to every modu- 
lation of voice, a perfect system of communication is 
kept up. The question whether a people couid exist 
without language would be about as reasonable as it 
would be to ask whether they can exist without hands* 
it is as natural for men to converse as it is for them to 
eat; if they cannot speak they will converse by signs, 
as, if they had no hands, they would feed themselves 


with their toes. Children, then, prompted by nature, 
associate their thoughts with audible words, and learn 
language without any special instruction. If you make 
the sound represented by the letters apple, when you 
hold up the fruit to a child, he naturally associates that 
sound with it and will imitate the sound, even without 
your trying to make him do so ; if the child be deaf so 
that he cannot hear the word which you speak, of 
course he cannot imitate it, and as such, of course, he 
must be forever dumb. But the desire to associate 
the thing with a sign still remains, and he has the same 
power of imitation as others, except in regard to words; 
if, therefore, you make a visible sign when you show 
him the apple, as by doubling the fist, the fist after- 
wards becomes to him the name or sign for the apple. 
But suppose the child cannot see the apple; suppose 
he be blind as well as deaf. What then ? he has the 
same intellectual nature, — put the apple in his hand, 
let him feel it, smell it, taste it, — put your clenched 
hand in his at the same time, and several times, until 
he associates this sign with the thing, and when he 
wishes for the fruit he will hold up his little fist, and 
delight your heart by this sign, which is just as much 
a word, as though he had said apple ! out loud. 

"Reasoning in this way, I undertook the task of in- 
structing Laura Bridgman, and the result has been 
what it will ever be where nature is followed as our 

" This simple process is readily understood, but simple 
signs, and names of objects being easy enougli, it is 
often asked, how can a knowledge of qualities which 
have no positive existence be communicated ] Just as 
easily, and just as they are taught to common children ; 
when a child bites a siueet apple, or a soiir one, he per- 


ceives the difference of taste ; he hears you use one 
sound, sweety when you taste the one, another sound, 
soiir^ when you taste the other. These sounds are 
associated in his mind with those quahties ; the deaf 
child sees the pucker of your hps, or some grimace 
when you taste the sour one, and that grimace perhaps 
is seized upon by him for a sign or a name for sovr ; 
and so with other physical qualities. The deaf, dumb, 
and blind child cannot hear your sound, cannot see 
your grimace, yet he perceives the quality of sweet- 
ness, and if you take pains to make some peculiar 
sign two or three times when the quality is perceived, 
he will associate that sign with the quality, and have 
a name for it. 

" Much surprise has been expressed by some who are 
conversant with the difficulties of the teaching, &c., of 
mutes, that Laura should have attained the use of 
verbs without more special instruction. It may be 
said in reply, that no minute and perfect account of 
the various steps in the process of her instruction has 
ever yet been published ; and that, moreover, the diffi- 
culties in the use of the verbs are in reality much less 
than is usually supposed. 

" As soon as a child has learned the use of a noun, as 
apple^ and of one or two signs of qualities, as sour and 
sweety he begins to use them; he holds up the fruit, 
and lisps out, apple — sour, or apple — sweet ; he has not 
been taught a verb, and yet he uses one; he asserts 
the one apple to be sweet, the other to be sour ; he 
in reality says, mentally, ' apple is sweet apple^ or 
' apple is sour apple ;' and in a little while he catches 
by the ear, an audible sign, — the word is, and puts it 
in where before he used only a sign, or meant to use 
one. Just so with the deaf-mute ; when he has learned 


a noun and an adjective he uses them by the help of 
a verb, or some mark of assertion, and you have only 
to give him some sign, which he will adopt just as 
readily as the speaking child, by mere imitation, and 
without any process of ratiocination. We give too 
narrow a definition when we say a verb is a word^ 
&c. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the long, 
detailed, and very ingenious process laid down in some 
books for teaching verbs and other parts of speech to 
the deaf-mutes, are worse than useless ; they have 
excited much attention, and justly received much 
admiration for their ingenuity, but it is of the kind 
we should bestow on mechanical contrivances for imi- 
tating the human voice ; and it would seem to be about 
as wise to teach a child to talk by directing him to 
contract this muscle, to relax that, and to place his 
lips in such and such a posture, as to teach a deaf- 
mute the use of tlie different parts of speech in the 
manner detailed by Sicard. 

" Much attention has been paid during the year to 
improving her in the use of language, and at the same 
time to increasing her stock of knowledge. A useful 
exercise for this purpose has been to tell her some 
story, and to require her to repeat it in her own lan- 
guage, after she has forgotten the precise words in 
which it was related to her. 

" The following story was related to her one day : 


" ' 1. An old man had a plum tree, and when the 
plums were ripe, he said to his boy John, — 

" '2. I want you to pick the plums off my tree, for I 
am an old man, and I cannot get up into my tree to 
pick them. 


{( i 

3. Then John said, yes sir ! I will get up into the 
tree and pick them for you. 

" ' 4. So the boy got up, and the old man gave him a 
pail to put the plums in, and he hung it up in the tree 
near him. 

" ' 5, And then he put the plums into the pail, one by 
one, till the pail was full. 

" '6. When the boy saw that the pail was full, he said 
to the old man, Let me give you the pail, for it is full. 

" ' 7. Then the man held up his hand and took the 
pail of plums and put them in his cart. 

" ' 8. For, said he, I am to take them to town in my 
cart to sell them, — and he gave the pail back to the 
boy to fill with more plums. 

" '9. At last the boy said, I am tired and hot, will 
you give me a plum to eat 1 

" '10. Yes, said the old man, for you are a good boy, 
and have worked well ; so I will give you ten plums, 
for you have earned them. 

" ' 11. The boy was glad to hear him say so, and 
said, I do not want to eat them all now. I will eat five 
and take five home to my sister 

'"12. You may get down now, said the old man, 
for it will soon be dark, and then you will lose your 
way home. 

" ' 13. So the boy got down and ran home, and felt 
glad that he had been kind to the old man. 

" '14. And when he got home he was glad he had 
been kind to his sister and kept half his plums for her.' 

"The next day she was requested to recall it to 
memory, and to write it down in her Journal, and she 
did so in the following words : 


" ' An old man had a large plum tree, — he had a 
little boy, John ; the man asked John to please to go 
up on the tree to pick many plums, because he was 
very old and lame. The man gave John a pail for 
plums, John put them in till it was very full ; he said 
to the man, it is very full of plums. He took the pail 
up in his cart to sell them, John was tired and hot ; 
he asked the man if he might take one plum. The 
man said he might take ten plums, because he was a 
very good boy to earn them hard. The man told him 
to hurry home. He ate five plums ; he gave his sister 
five plums ; he felt very happy because he helped the 
old man much, and made his sister happy. John was 
kind to help the old man ; he was very generous to 
give his sister part of his plums. The old man loved 
John very much. If John did not hurry home he 
would have lost the way. John liked to help the old 
man well' 

"It will be seen, that she made some moral reflec- 
tions of her own which were not expressed in the 
original story. It is desirable that every new word or 
fact which she learns should be communicated by her 
teachers, or that she should form a correct notion about 
it; but this, as will be perceived, is impossible, without 
depriving her of that intercourse with others which is 
necessary for the development of her social nature." 

We might copy much more which Dr. Howe has 
written about this truly wonderful but unfortunate 
girl. The extracts we have made, however, are suffi- 
cient to show her fondness for knowledge, and the 
readiness with which she acquires ideas, and the gen- 
eral course of her instruction. 



The history of Oliver Caswell is as interestug as 
that of Laura. We give it in the words of his bene- 
factor, with the remark, that he is now about eighteen 
years of age; that he enjoyed the exercise of all his 
senses for the first three years and four months of his 
life. At that time he was attacked by scarlet fever, 
which, at the expiration of four weeks, deprived him 
of hearing, and in three weeks more, of his sight. At 
the end of six months, the poor child could neither 
hear, see, nor speak; for being unable to hear the 
sound of his own voice, he soon ceased altogether to 
articulate the words he had learned before his faculties 
had become injured, 

"His thirst for knowledge," says Dr. Howe, "pro- 
claimed itself as soon as he entered the house, by his 
eager examination of everything he could feel or smell 
in his new location. For instance, treading upon the 
register of a furnace, he instantly stooped down and 
began to feel it, and soon discovered the way in which 
the upper plate moved upon the lower one ; but this 
was not enough for him ; so, lying down upon his face, 
he applied his tongue first to one. then to the other, and 
seemed to discover that they were of different kinds of 

" His signs were expressive ; and the strictly natural 
language, laughing, crying, sighing, kissing, embrac- 
ing, (fcc, was perfect. 

" Some of the analogical signs which (guided by 
his faculty of imitation) he had contrived were com- 
prehensible, such as the waving motion of his hand 
for the motion of a boat, the circular one for a wheel, 

" The first object was to break up the use of these 


signs, and to substitute for them the use of purely 
arbitrary ones, 

"Profiting by the experience I had gained in the 
other cases, I omitted several steps of the process before 
employed, and commenced at once with the finger lan- 
guage. Taking, therefore, several articles having short 
names, such as key, cup, mug, &c., and with Laura 
for an auxiliary, I sat down, and, taking his hand, 
placed it upon one of them, and then, with his own, 
made the letters key. He felt my hands eagerly with 
both of his ; and, on my repeating the process, he evi- 
dently tried to imitate the motions of my fingers. In a 
few minutes he contrived to feel the motions of my 
fingers with one hand, and holding out the other, he 
tried to imitate them, laughing most heartily when he 
succeeded. Laura was by, interested even to agita- 
tion; and the two presented a singular sight; her face 
was flushed and anxious, and her fingers twined in 
among ours so closely as to follow every motion, but 
so lightly as not to embarrass them; while Oliver stood 
attentive, his head a little aside, his face turned up, 
his left hand grasping mine, and his right held out. 
At every motion of my fingers his countenance beto- 
kened keen attention ; there was an expression of 
anxiety as he tried to imitate the motions ; then a smile 
came stealing out as he thought he could do so, and 
spread into a joyous laugh the moment he succeeded, 
and felt me pat his head and Laura clap him heartily 
upon the back, and jump up and down in her joy. 

" He learned more than half a dozen letters in half 
an hour, and seemed delighted with his success, at 
least in gaining approbation. His attention then began 
to flag, and I commenced playing with him. It was 
evident that in all this he had merely been imitating 


the motions of my fingers, and placing his hand upon 
the key, cup, &c., as part of the process, without any 
perception of the relation between the sign and the 

'• When he was tired with play I took him back to 
the table, and he was quite ready to begin again his 
process of imitation. He soon learned to make the 
letters for key, pen, pin; and, by having the object 
repeatedly placed in his hand, he at last perceived the 
relation I wished to establish between them. This 
was evident, because, when I would make the letters 
p i ti, or pen, or c up , he would select the article. 

" The perception of this relation was not accompa- 
nied by that radiant flash of intelligence, and that glow 
of joy, which marked the delightful moment when 
Laura first perceived it. I then placed all the articles 
on the table, and, going away a little distance with the 
children, placed Oliver's fingers in the position to spell 
key, on which Laura went and brought the article. 
The little fellow seemed to be much amused by this, 
and looked very attentive and smiling. I then caused 
him to make the letters bread, and in an instant 
Laura went and brought him a piece. He smelled it, 
put it to his lips, cocked up his head with a most 
knowing look, seemed to reflect a moment, and then 
laughed outright, as much as to say, ' Ah ! I under- 
stand now how something may be made out of this.' 

" It was now clear that he had the capacity and 
inclination to learn, that he was a proper subject for 
instruction, and needed only persevering attention. I 
therefore put him in the hands of an intelligent teacher, 
nothing doubting of his rapid progress. 

"He is rather lymphatic in temperament, and has 
by no means that rapidity of thought and action which 


characterizes Laura in so remarkable a degree But 
though very quiet in his deportment, and slow in all 
his movements, his smiling and intelligent countenance 
gives him an interesting appearance, and his thick-set 
frame indicates strength and endurance. The most 
remarkable trait in his character is his affectionate and 
cheerful disposition. He is a favorite throughout the 
house; everyone loves him; everyone gives him a 
kiss or caress on meeting him ; and he greets all with 
smiles in return. He is uniformly cheerful, and seems 
to have that enjoyment of existence which character- 
izes Laura, though unaccompanied by the keen zest 
that makes her buoyant, while he is only calm. 

" He does not manifest his affection for others by 
those active demonstrations which she is constantly 
making. It does not seem a necessity of his nature to 
unburthen himself by kisses and caresses to others ; 
but he is evidently pleased at receiving them. And 
though he seldom returns them, still he is evidently 
deeply attached to many of the persons about him, and 
manifests his love and sympathy by natural language 
which cannot be mistaken. 

" A great deal of time has been spent during the last 
year in communicating to him a knowledge of that 
indispensable requisite for the development of mind, 
arbitrary language ; and he has profited much thereby. 
He acquires words slowly, and uses them slowly, but 
takes great pleasure in both processes, and has already 
made a considerable acquisition of words. For in- 
stance, here are some of his sentences as he made them 
early in the year. Wishing to inform his teacher that 
he had been out fishing with two persons, he said, 
^Oliver, fish, boat, T/iottuis, Bradford.'' Pointing out 
to his teacher a rat-hole in the wainscot he said eai rai. 


Having made a little boat and rigged it with sails, he 
put it into a trough of water, and, blowing too hard, 
overset it, which he related to his teacher thus, — ' Wa- 
ter, boat, Oliver, hhxD, falV Wishing to express the 
fact of witnessing a person sawing and cutting wood, 
he said, ' Wood, saio, Thomas ;' and ' Wood, axe, cut^ 
Thomas.^ The slaughtering of the pig which he had 
been made to comprehend before he came here, and 
which was referred to in the last report, seems to have 
made a strong impression on his mind. One day, he 
wrote down of his own accord, ' Pigt fall, knife, cut, 
leg, Oliver f which I interpret, the Pig fell down cut 
by a knife, and he, Oliver, used his legs, and ran 

"The following extract from his teacher's journal 
shows the ease with which verbs are taught. July 15. 
— ' Tried to make Oliver familiar with the use of a verb 
in connection with adjectives. He asked for a cracker; 
I went with him to get one, and told him ' Cracker is 
round ;' he smiled and nodded his head, as much as to 
say, I understand it. Afterwards he applied it to other 
things of himself, saying, ' Button is round, ball is 
round,' &c. My former plan was to go on step by 
step, and give the different parts of speech separately, 
beginning with nouns, but reflection has convinced me 
this was wrong. Whenever the deaf-mute indicates 
through natural signs, assertion, negation, interroga- 
tion, quality, &c., then is the time to give him the 
corresponding arbitrary signs or words, which he, by 
mere imitation, and without requiring any explanation, 
immediately adopts. 

" When he was taught that persons have two names, 
he was very much interested, and went on to ask the 
second name of all the members of his family, as John 


Caswell, Richard Caswell, &c. ; but afterwards asking 
the family name of one of his school-mates, which 
happened to be Caswell, he was sorely perplexed, and 
much of the value of the lesson was necessarily lost 
from inability to explain to him the apparent violation 
of a rule which he seemed himself to have established. 
He also inquired what was the second, or family name 
of cat, dog, &c. One of his exercises is when alone to 
put down words and sentences by inserting metallic 
types in the form of pegs into a board pierced with 
holes to receive them. He can write quite well with a 
pencil, but this method of putting down words with 
types is better, inasmuch as it enables his teacher to 
make him correct his own sentences. He generally 
puts down the words in what is probably the most 
natural order, placing the one of leading import first, 
as Jacket^ Oliver^ g^'^^t mother ; that is, mother gave 
me (Oliver) the jacket; the jacket, the principal ob- 
ject; to him, the second; given, the third; by his 
mother, the fourth. Having been drawn upon a 
sled on the snow, he said, ' Ride^ Oliver, sled, snoio, 
rope, Thomas f that is, Oliver rode on a sled on the 
snow, the rope held by Thomas ; and, ^Fall, Oliver, sled, 
snoiv, rope, Thomas f that he fell from the sled on the 
snow, the rope being drawn by Thomas; the word 
significative of the leading idea coming first in each 
case. One chilly day he perceived that the dog was 
v/et, trembling with cold ; and on his teacher saying to 
him interrogatively, '■Walk?' that is, will you go to 
walk, he said, ^Walk, no, rain f and added, ^ Shake, 
cold, dog.' 

" Like Laura, and like all children, indeed, he is 
very fond of using new words; his teacher having 
explained to him the word hurry, he amused himself 


during the rest of the day by saying hurry to every one 
he met, and pushing them along to show them how to 
hurry. Having learned a word, he easily and of his 
own accord makes various applications of it. For 
instance, having learned the use of the verb is, when 
his teacher caused him to shut the door, and then to 
spell door 5^1/^, he added, ^ DoorisshuV He then took 
up an umbrella, and made signs to know what the 
cover was called, and being told cloth, he said, ' U'ln- 
brella is cloth.^ Having fallen over a sled, and hurt 
his leg, he said to his teacher, ^Oliver, hit, fall, leg, 
sled, hurl ; leg sore: Oliver blind f that is, I hit, in 
falling, my leg against the sled, and hurt it ; my leg is 
sore ; I was blind. 

" He is much inclined to frolic, and sometimes tries 
to excite laughter by saying extravagant things; as, 
'House can laugh^ — and then laughing at himself; 
rolling a button on the floor and saying, -Button can 
walk.'' He seems to understand readily that mere 
play is intended, when one holds him over a place from 
which he might fear to fall, or when one tells him any- 
thing extravagant; but is inclined to put implicit 
reliance on what is said in an ordinary way. For 
instance, when I had gone away, to be absent, as he 
was told, for two nights, but returned the next day, 
his teacher said to him, 'Doctor has come;' he replied, 
' No ! Doctor loill come after one ; ' that is, after one 
night more; but, being again told I had come, he 
seemed troubled, and replied emphatically,* and with 
a look of reproof, ' No ! Doctor will come after one 
night; Rogers not know I ' He understands when 

* Deaf-mutes may be said to talk emphatically with their fingers ; 
and it is very easy to perceive when Laura or Oliver wish to lay stress 
on particular words. 


words are to be taken interrogatively, by a peculiar 
manner of using them, and will answer affirmatively 
or negatively. For instance, his teacher said to him a 
few days ago, ' Did Oliver go with Bradford to see 
sister?' 'Yes.' 'When?' ' Ye5iferc?ay,' said he. He 
makes this visit weekly, and on a particular day, and 
said, ' Oliver loill loith Bradford after Jive nights;^ that 
is, will go with Bradford after nights. Being 
asked, to see who? he replied, 'Sister.^ He has 
learned to count pretty correctly as far as fifty, but he 
always _^i'e5, (as the old form of expression is,) that is, 
counts his fingers : if he is counting leaves, for instance, 
and finds eighteen, he will hold up both hands, with 
the fingers spread out, then one hand with the fingers, 
then one with three fingers. His progress, however, 
is slow in this as in other studies. 

" We have never had occasion to give him any les- 
sons on propriety, either as to personal decency, or 
moderation in eating ; and yet in both respects his con- 
duct is not only unexceptionable, but, as I think, 
remarkable. He is a very moderate eater, and chews 
his food very deliberately. He does not crave so much 
as most other children, but is fond of odors, especially 
of flowers ; and the pleasure which he derives from 
visiting a greenhouse seems almost equal to that ob- 
tained by persons with all their senses. He has a sense 
of property, and though not particularly acquisitive, 
asserts his right to his own, while he always respects 
the rights of others. 

" I have said that he is cheerful and aflectionate. 
There have been very few exceptions to this in his 
conduct. He has rarely shown marks of temper, and 
only when he had been teased or imposed upon, or 
thought he had been, and then he becomes passionate, 


and seems bold as a little lion. There is much manli- 
ness about him, and he takes great delight in those 
exercises which require strength and activity. In our 
gymnasium he is one of the strongest and most expert 
performers, leaping the bars, clambering the ropes, and 
swinging himself about in the air, with entire fearless- 
ness. When injured, he bears it bravely ; rubs the 
part injured, and conceals his emotion, or, if a tear is 
forced out, it is unaccompanied by a groan. He has a 
very strong frame, and is seldom ill ; but when any- 
thing ails him, he drops his head, sits quietly, or goes 
to bed, without any whining or any complaints. Some- 
times, when he is grieved by a friend going away, he 
seems to be full of emotion, which, however, he con- 
ceals, though the tears sometimes trickle down his 
cheeks. He seems perfectly truthful and conscien- 
tious, though I am sure no one ever gave him any 
lessons upon the necessity of being so. Finally, without 
that remarkable degree of mental activity which makes 
Laura so apt a learner, he is in every respect a most 
interesting and beautiful boy, and it cannot be doubted 
that, by long and close perseverance in the course of 
instruction which has been adopted for him, his mind 
will be developed, and he will become an intelligent 
and happy man." 

I have thus, my dear friend, given you some account 
of these two interesting cases that have attracted so 
much attention, and whose attainments in knowledge 
are well calculated to shame those, who, possessing all 
the senses, yet know not their value. How many thou- 
sands there are, " who having eyes see not, and having 
ears hear not." The last Report of the Perkins Insti- 
tution states that there has been the same marked pro- 


gress in the studies of Laura Bridgman and Oliver 
Caswell during the past year, as at any former period. 
Laura has been sick and is still feeble. Oliver is as 
healthy and active as usual, manifesting great fond- 
ness for manual exercise ; and he will probably be 
able to maintain himself in after life, at some useful 
trade. I need not add, in conclusion, the reflections 
which the foregoing cannot fail to excite in every 
thoughtful mind. If those who are bereft of sight, of 
hearing, and of speech, who have but one avenue of 
knowledge, — one outlet alone through which the mind 
can communicate with the external world, — are, never- 
theless, enabled to acquire so much knowledge of men 
and things, what ought they to do who enjoy the innu- 
merable and unspeakable advantages which each of 
the five senses confer. 

O, my friend, think of this, and remember that " to 
whom much is given much will be required." If this 
letter shall stimulate you to greater exertions in those 
pursuits which now occupy your attention, and I doubt 
not that it will, its object will have been accomplished. 



The first question which a young man might be 
supposed to ask, when he assumes the responsibiUty of 
acting for himself, is, For what purpose was I created 1 
What am I designed to accompHsh'? or, in other words, 
What is my duty and my destiny 7 We do not mean 
to say that every one, on commencing hfe, does 
actually propose to himself this question, much less 
that he states it in this precise form. All that we 
mean is, that a thoughtful man, when he feels for the 
first time that his destiny has been committed, in a 
measure, to his own keeping, and his future happiness 
or misery depends upon nothing so much as the man- 
ner in which he decides upon the duties and purposes 
which he feels called upon to perform, will naturally 
be inclined to pause and reflect before taking the first 
step in that devious path that must lead him he knows 
not whither. For he feels an intuitive consciousness 
that there is a strange and intimate connection between 
all our acts. And he knows that our success or failure 
is mainly dependent on the view we take of life, and 
the manner in which we enter upon the performance 
of its duties. And therefore we say, a wise man would 
do well, first of all, attentively to consider the object 
for which he was made, and the best method by which 
it can be attained. For the slightest reflection will be 
suflicient to satisfy him that we were placed here not 
merely for amusement, or for momentary pastime, but 
that life is in fact a serious business; and that its char- 
acter and usefulness depend mainly upon the manner 


ill which it is commenced. It may be assumed as cer- 
tain, as a fixed and invariable law, that our usefulness 
and our happiness in the present state of existence, are 
decided by nothing so much as the manner in which 
we first commence to perform its duties. We hear 
much said about the capriciousness of fortune, about 
the many that fail, and the comparatively few that 
succeed, in the journey of life. But if we examine the 
subject closely, — if from the actions of men we endeavor 
to discover the principles which originated them, — we 
shall find, I think, in almost every case, that they are 
the true exponents of the wisdom or folly of those by 
whom they were put forth. Or, in other words, if we 
analyze with care the events of our own lives, we shall 
find that our experience has been in perfect accordance 
with the degree of thought and reflection which we 
bestowed upon life and its objects, at the very outset ; 
and that whatever may be the vicissitudes to which 
we are subjected, we cannot in justice attribute them 
to any other cause foreign to ourselves. It is an indi- 
cation of ignorance or imbecility to ascribe our pros- 
perity or adversity to chance or fortune. Man is the 
arbiter of his own destiny ; and he decides for himself 
whether his life shall be fraught with happiness or 
misery. But we would not be here misunderstood. 
We would by no means deny that there is a greater 
power than that of mere human agency, that makes 
itself manifest in the affairs of men. But this mighty 
influence operates more frequently in a general, than in 
a particular way. It is more strikingly displayed in its 
effects upon society than upon the individual, and 
besides its influence is always beneficent. Whatever 
evil may exist in the world, is attributable not to the 
Providence of God, but to the ignorance and degrada- 


tion of man. We do not deny, indeed, that there is 
evil inherent in the very nature of things; but it bears 
no proportion to the misery caused by the sad mistakes 
and appalling crimes of man. What a fearful contrast 
does his life present, with its ceaseless discord, to the 
beauty and harmony that everywhere pervade nature. 
Whence this difference ? It seems to me that it exists 
in that very superiority that man enjoys over all other 
terrestrial beings. The little insect of a day fulfils its 
brief destiny with admirable exactness. The silk- 
worm spins its thread and dies. And in every part of 
the animal kingdom, we find everywhere the same 
regularity to exist. Each one of all God's creatures, 
in its peculiar sphere, accomplishes the purpose of its 
being. Man alone, endowed with intelligence, — to 
whose vast capacities, no limits have been fixed, pre- 
eminently distinguished above all other terrestrial 
beings, with a nature that can never die, made in the 
very image of God, and destined forever to be the com- 
panion of angels, — mars the general plan, the great 
design of Heaven. We look in vain to his daily life 
for that beauty and regularity that exists in the world 
around him. Yes ! No one can escape the conviction 
that the want of oneness between man and nature, as 
well as the want of harmony in himself, is the natural 
result of ignorance or neglect of those universal laws 
which man alone refuses to obey. Because he alone 
of all created beings is left free to decide for himself. 
Is it not lamentable that this freedom, that constitutes 
his highest glory, should so often be the cause of his 
deepest degradation? From what we have said, it 
will be readily understood, that we regard man, to a 
very great extent^ as the arbiter of his own destiny. 
And that his failure to realize that degree of develop- 


ment of which he is capable, is not to be attributed to 
any influence foreign to himself. Every human soul 
possesses energy enough to triumph over its external 
circumstances. It is a false and shallow philosophy 
which teaches the contrary. 

We can never hope for anything higher than a third- 
rate civilization, until this is practically admitted. 
And we must not expect that there will be any consid- 
erable improvement in the condition of the individual 
man, until this is felt and acted upon. So long as we 
attribute our faults and our crimes to other than the 
right cause, we shall sin, and we must suffer. What 
every man needs, and more especially on entering life, 
is a deeper consciousness of himself, that he may truly 
understand the full extent of that which he is designed 
to accomplish. I do not assert, indeed, that a young 
man must comprehend the entire problem of his being, 
before he can fulfil those obligations that grow out of 
his complicated relations. But it certainly is necessary 
that he should have some fixed principles, some definite 
views by which he can determine with some degree of 
certainty upon a course of life which will be most con- 
ducive to promote his own physical, intellectual, and 
moral development, and at the same time will enable 
him to perform the duties he owes to society and to his 

Every man ought to form, carefully, for himself, a 
theory of life, and, so far as practicable, he ought to 
make his actions conform to it. The case is, with most 
of us, quite the reverse. We make our view of the 
objects of life, in too many instances, square with our 
own limited and selfish actions ; or what is, perhaps, 
more frequent, there really exists no kind of connection 
between what we think and what we do; between 


what we conceive ought to be, and what we actually 
accomplish. Is it not true, that by far the greatest 
portion of mankind go through life without having 
any precise or definite idea of its object, who live on 
from day to day as if they were creatures of instinct, 
rather than reason? It is to this that we must 
ascribe the failure of so many schemes. We plan, in 
too many instances, without seeming to know why. 
We make use of means without having any definite 
idea of an end. And hence it so frequently happens 
that life is a miserable failure. It has become a com- 
mon saying, that one must live twice to know how to 
live once. Now, we think, every one, on taking a retro- 
spective view of his past life, can see that his mistakes 
and errors have been for the most part the results of 
his ignorance, or the want of a thorough preparation at 
the commencement. Such, at least, has been our 
experience. And we think that all, at times, must 
have felt, that a more thorough education would have 
enabled them to avoid many of those unhappy events, 
those unfortunate circumstances that are remembered 
only with pain and regret. How many rash and fool- 
ish things Ave do in our youth, only to be repented of 
in after life. There is probably no one who has not in 
his more thoughtful moments, when the events of his 
past life, assuming fantastic shapes, appear before him 
in terrible distinctness, confessed, in bitterness and in 
tears, that by far the greater number of those acts, 
which are now viewed only with sorrow, might have 
been avoided, if he had but better understood the true 
nature and object of life before taking upon himself its 
responsibilities. The young man, fired with enthu- 
siasm and impelled by passion, enters upon the arena 
of life, knowing but little of his combatants, and 


deplorably ignorant of the conflict. A momentary 
flush of success is sufficient to inspire him with new 
and increased ardor, and for a while he thinks of 
nothing but glory and renown. But soon the dream 
of his imagination is compelled to give place to the 
more sober and tardy convictions of reason and com- 
mon sense. The bubbles that once amused him, vanish, 
and he is grasped by the cold, stern hand of terrible 
reality. Hence it is that we hear so many complain 
that they never realize, in the experience of after life, 
all that they hoped for in their youth. And the reason 
obviously is, that we form, at that period, an altogether 
different idea of life from the true one ; or, more fre- 
quently still, we have no idea at all. We enter upon 
hfe knowing but little of its character, and but poorly 
fitted for the performance of its varied duties, and are 
compelled to learn from experience what might have 
been just as well obtained before, could we have 
enjoyed, during our minority, a more enlarged and 
liberal culture. And this leads us to observe, that we 
can never hope for that regularity and unity in the 
successive states of our progress from childhood to old 
age, until the significance of life, as a whole, is more 
fully comprehended than it is at present by the major- 
ity of mankind. If there be any period of our existence 
more important than any other, it is that in which we 
relinquish those influences that have guided and con- 
trolled our childhood, and go forth single-handed and 
alone to play our part in the broad battle-field of life. 
And yet, strange as it may seem, at no time are we 
less governed by the convictions of reason and the dic- 
tates of sound principles. The dawn of manhood 
seems to have been given over, by common consent, to 
the sway of the passions. The most critical moment 


of all our existence, at which, more frequently than 
any other, our destiny is decided, is suffered to pass 
away neglected, or is spent in the pursuit of that which 
seldom fails to embitter our future days. How many 
noble men have been lost to the world, how many 
gifted minds have been sacrificed at this crisis of their 
existence, while yet they were young men, just enter- 
ing upon the active duties of life. History furnishes 
many examples of such. We can never read their 
brief, sad story without regretting that the impressive 
lesson it teaches should not have been better under- 

But we will now proceed to point out some of those 
errors of which we have hitherto spoken only in a 
general way. The grand and too often fatal mistake 
which most young men commit, on setting out in life, 
is the total disregard which they often manifest to the 
experience of those who have preceded them. It is 
singular that the period when we most need the 
guidance of others, is precisely that in which it is most 
irksome. There is no time when man can rightly free 
himself from superior authority; in which he is not 
bound by the laws of nature or of society. But at the 
very commencement of his career, when as yet his 
character and habits of life are, at most, but imperfectly 
formed, with a blind impetuosity he spurns all author- 
ity, and gives himself up, if I may so speak, to the 
pleasures of the imagination, or, worse still, to the 
unbridled license of his passions. Now this utter con- 
tempt of authority, this total disregard of the wisdom 
and experience of his seniors, is the most unamiable, 
yet I am sorry to say, the most frequent trait which 
the young man exhibits. He will tell you that his soul 
is not a ''palace of the past." He will talk largely 


of manly independence, of his natural rights, 6cc. Yet 
in a few years afterwards, he will confess, but not 
unfrequently until it is too late, that at the very time 
when he claimed most rights he was the least capable 
of appreciating them, and that when he thought he 
was the most free, he was in fact the greatest slave. 
There is another characteristic which most young men 
exhibit, and which, if not early overcom'e. will seriously 
affect, if not altogether prevent, their future usefulness 
and success in life. I mean that thoughtlessness, that 
utter indifference, to all that is real, permanent, attain- 
able, by systematic and well-directed efforts. This is 
so common that it is thought to be a necessary charac- 
teristic of early manhood. There is a kind of serious- 
ness, a solemn, thoughtful demeanor, which sometimes 
displays itself in childhood, when the new-born spirit, 
with all its freshness and buoyancy, in a kind of 
enchanting bewilderment, looks forth upon the strange 
and beautiful universe. One could almost wish, 
though it would be at the expense of all progress, that 
we could retain throughout our whole existence this 
spiritual character that makes the little child seem so 
much like an angel. How terrible is the contrast 
between the condition of the child that looks forth with 
astonishment and delight upon every object around 
him, or turns upward his gaze and views the starry 
heavens, as if conscious that it was once his home ; and 
the thoughtless and impetuous being just emerging into 
manhood, impelled by those dark and mahgnant pas- 
sions that have drowned alike the voice of reason and 
of conscience, and that have annihilated from the soul 
all those bright and beautiful reminiscences of its 
former home in the spirit land. The period of life of 
which we are speaking is commonly denominated the 


transition period. We are told that the phenomena it 
exhibits is the result of the change consequent on pass- 
ing from boyhood to manhood ; that there must be a 
time in every one's life in which the individual, for a 
while, must be given up to the dominion of his 
impulses, that he may more fully respect and revere 
the authority of the intellect and the moral sentiment. 
But there are" those who believe that this could be 
obtained in a far different and far better way. For it 
cannot surely be that we are so constituted that we 
may not appreciate a pure and elevated life until we 
have first experienced its opposite. Can virtue and 
excellence only be attained by first passing through a 
state of ignorance and vice? And yet this is what is 
practically maintained by those who would throw a 
veil over the thoughtlessness which so often character- 
izes the life of the young man, or who would apologize 
for the excesses to which it leads, by insisting upon its 
necessity. It is a great mistake to suppose that any 
portion of our life, much less that in which the mind 
first begins to exercise its dearest right, its noblest pre- 
rogative, freedom of action, can be given up to the 
mere pursuit of pleasure or momentary self-gratifica- 
tion. So far from this, there is no time when we 
ought to give ourselves over more fully to calm reflec- 
tion, to the profound, thoughtful consideration of the 
great work which we are appointed to accomplish, of 
the great mission which we were destined to fulfil. 

The young man should pause on the threshold of the 
busy, active world upon which he is so soon to enter, 
and calmly and attentively consider the part which he 
is best fitted to act in its great drama, and the way in 
which he can best accomplish the purpose of his being; 
and not, as is now too often the case, rush forth 


with a fiery impetuosity, attracted hither and thither 
by every surrounding influence, made the sport of 
every fortuitous circumstance, until, at length, the 
hours of his existence have well nigh passed away, 
and he feels, as he takes a retrospective view of his life, 
that he has not accomplished its high purpose, and he 
sinks at last into an inglorious grave, leaving behind 
only the record of disappointed hopes and miserable 
failures. The indifference to which we have referred, 
and which constitutes one of the prominent character- 
istics in most young men, proceeds from the want of 
proper views and definite ideas of the true aim of 
human life. Nothing is required to remove this indif- 
ference, this thoughtlessness, but a more liberal and 
extended culture. The primary object of all education 
should be, to impress upon the mind of every human 
being the purpose for which he was created, and 
instruct him in the way by which it can be most 
thoroughly attained. Then he will exhibit, on assum- 
ing the responsibilities of a man, a dignity worthy of 
his high vocation; for he will then no longer be 
swayed by impulse, but governed and controlled by 
principle. He will advance onward, cautiously, but 
resolutely. Instead of being the sport of circumstances, 
he will make them administer to his ends. Life will 
not be to him, what it now too often is, a mere series 
of disconnected and adverse events. But he will be 
able to see a beautiful unity and harmony in the vicis- 
situdes of every day and every hour. Even the fail- 
ure of such a one, (if indeed it be admitted that he 
can ever be truly said not to have accomplished what 
he has undertaken,) is infinitely preferable to the 
casual and momentary success of him, who, on enter- 


Ing life, acknowledges no higher law than the dictates 
of his own caprice. 

We might here specify many other peculiarities in 
the character of young men, which are, for the most 
part, the deplorable results of a defective education, 
and which Cause the experience of so many lives to 
be barren and unfruitful. Or we might enlarge upon 
those we have already briefly noticed. But in such a 
case we should greatly exceed the limits we have pre- 
scribed for this article. We have briefly referred to 
the necessity of a more thorough education than young 
men at present receive. We would only add, that this 
must be, for the most part, self-education. As we 
before observed, every man is, to a great extent, the 
arbiter of his own destiny ; and as he alone can take 
cognizance of the facts of consciousness, and of those 
complicated processes of thought that are going on 
within him, and which exert a far more important influ- 
ence in fixing his sphere of activity, and determining his 
destiny, than the innumerable agencies by which he is 
surrounded; therefore it is that he must be, for the 
most part, his own instructor. The motto written 
upon the temple of Delphi, "Know thyself," should 
be engraven upon every heart. 

We might have referred to many other distinguish- 
ing, and, what we cannot help calling pernicious, traits 
in the character of young men, and which are made 
but too plainly visible in their influence upon society. 
With them, usually, originate most of those Utopian 
schemes for revolutionizing the world and regenerating 
the race, and which, for the most part, accomplish but 
little more than to keep the world in ceaseless tur- 
moil. They commence to reform the world, without 
seeming to think that the best way to attain their 


object IS to begin by reforming themselves. However, 
this and many other characteristics upon which we 
might enlarge are all mainly attributable to the cause 
we have assigned, — the want of a more thorough 
self-culture, — a more complete preparation for the 
active and responsible duties of life than young men 
at present receive. We rejoice, however, to know that 
the subject is beginning to receive the attention it 
deserves. And we trust that the day is approaching, 
when, to see an uneducated young man will be as rare 
as it is now frequent; and when the end and aim of 
every human being shall be to develop aright his 
noble nature, and to accomplish his high destiny. 



" The stars shall fade away : the sun himself 
Grow dim with age, and nature sink in years ; 
But thou shall flourish in immortal youth, 
Unhurt amidst the warring elements, 
The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds." 

There is no subject more worthy of our thoughtful 
consideration, none better fitted to occupy our noblest 
powers, than the humble endeavor to discover the 
nature and character of that life for which we are all 
destined, and upon which we are so soon to enter. 
We have expressed in another article, to the best of 
our ability, reasons for believing in the soul's immor- 
tality. But next to the conviction that we shall live 
beyond the grave, is the desire to know something of 
the form and mode of such an existence. Indeed, the 
one is inseparable from the other. The human soul is 
not satisfied with having arrived at a certainty of its 
eternal duration. It seeks for something more. It 
endeavors to ascertain what will be the character and 
object of this prolonged existence. Shall the sympa- 
thies awakened, the associations formed, the ideas 
acquired here remain with us when we have entered 
upon that higher life, or shall we retain, in the better 
world, only the consciousness of our own identity, 
whilst all we have formerly thought, felt, or known, is 
buried in forgetfulness 7 We can conceive of no sub- 
ject more worthy of the serious study, deep thought, 
and profound contemplation of every rational, moral, 
and accountable being. In those hours of deep reflec- 


tiorij when the soul turns inwardly its gaze, and views 
its own inimitable graces, and endeavors, as it were, to 
systematize its own lofty presentiments, it feels, with- 
out the aid of argument, that it can never die, that it 
is destined for a life that shall never terminate, an 
existence that shall have no end. At such a time, it 
endeavors to discover, by the light of its intuitions, the 
teachings of nature and the truths of revelation, where 
and what is to be the nature of that home, in which, 
after the struggles of its primitive state are over, it is to 
realize its destiny. Every one, we think, must be con- 
scious of a desire to know something more of that 
world to which we are hastening with a rapidity 
which we attempt to measure, but can never fully cal- 
culate. There is probably no one so constantly occu- 
pied with the pursuit of the world, so completely en- 
grossed with the objects of sense, as not, occasionally at 
least, to experience a longing, a desire to know some- 
thing more of that purer and that better world towards 
which he is now so rapidly advancing. This desire is 
strengthened in every man by nearly all the circum- 
stances attendant on our present state of existence, and 
more especially by the uncertainty of its duration. No 
thoughtful man can lie down at night, without feeling 
conscious that before the dawn of another day he may 
be removed from earth to heaven, from the world of 
men to the world of spirits. It is this uncertainty that 
invests our present life, that gives such a deep and 
solemn interest to the inquiry, whither are we going 7 . 
Innumerable are the speculations to which this ques- 
tion has given rise. It might form an interesting 
exercise to collect and compare the ideas of heaven, 
which devout men in every age have incorporated in 
those religions, through which they have endeavored 



to establish a more intimate connection between them- 
selves and God, and to express their faith in the never- 
ending existence of the human soul. And though we 
should find between each a very striking difference, 
yet there is one respect in which they would all bear a 
resemblance. They would all unite in describing the 
future abode of the soul to be something far higher and 
nobler than that in which it at present exists. 

This subject has formed, at all times and among all 
nations, the most exciting theme for the poet and the 
philosopher. The poet has described heaven as the 
sacred, enchanted land, adorned with perpetual luxuri- 
ance, where perennial flowers forever bloom, and 
ambrosial streams forever flow. In this abode of the 
just and good, where youth and beauty reign immor- 
tal, and the smile of love is the light of their existence, 
exalted genius has endeavored to delineate its highest 
conception of our future destiny. The philosopher, 
dealing less with imagery and more with ideas, has 
pictured a heavenly paradise, in whose sacred groves, 
divine instructors shall impart to the souls of men a 
knowledge of that truth which they sought for in vain 
upon earth. This subject forms the burden of many 
of those legends and myths, that constitute so large a 
part of what may be denominated the sacred writings 
of antiquity, and in which was embodied the relig- 
ion of all those nations not favored with a direct reve- 
lation from heaven. Many of the most beautiful ideas 
in the teachings of Socrates and the speculations of 
Plato, relating to the future condition and abode of the 
soul, were derived from the fables and traditions of 
many of the oriental nations. The allegories and 
fables of those earlier times, relating to the Elysian 
fields or the dread Tartarus, show with what earnest- 


ness man has ever contemplated his future condition. 
The idea of heaven and hell has been incorporated 
into every system of religion that has ever existed. 
Indeed, it would be difficult to conceive a religion 
without them. The human soul cannot be satisfied 
with the conviction of its immortality. It seeks for 
something more. It endeavors to discover where and 
what will be the nature of its future condition. Now, 
as we have before remarked, the idea of eternal life, 
has, in some form or other, been connected with 
men's notions of God and his moral government, and 
the necessity of a higher development than the human 
soul in its present imperfect state of existence can 
receive. Among the rudest and most uncultivated 
nations, who may hardly be said to have a language 
sufficiently comprehensive to convey any but the most 
common ideas, we find unmistakable evidences of a 
belief in a higher life. True, it is often nothing more 
than an exalted conception or an exaggerated view of 
what they realize here upon earth. The red man's 
idea of heaven, for example, is a more extensive 
hunting-ground, where he will possess better imple- 
ments of warfare, better facilities for hunting, and 
richer game. The Indian has a firm faith, that when 
he lays down the bow and arrow and dies, he is to 
resume them again in that better land where his 
fathers have gone before him. Now this extended 
view of the present existence, this idea of having in 
completeness what we only have here in part, or of 
realizing that in the future of which here we only 
dream, is the same in the civilized as in the savage 
man. When we, as Christians, speak of heaven, we 
mean a state of greater felicity than can be realized 
upon the earth. Perhaps our most exalted conception 


of paradise is an abode where we shall be united to 
those we have loved, and where, in the society of puri- 
fied spirits, we shall spend the ceaseless ages of eter- 
nity, in perfecting or completing what we have but 
commenced in the present world, and in glorifying 
God. The certainty of our immortality is revealed in 
the New Testament ; but the place where we are to 
spend our future existence, its nature and character, as 
well as the forms we are to assume, the parts we are to 
act, the laws by which we are to be governed, is 
shrouded in mystery, or, at most, is left to mere conjec- 
ture. Various and contradictory have been the theo- 
ries or hypotheses by which enlightened and Christian 
men have endeavored to explain the nature of the life 
beyond the grave. Some have maintained that death 
will effect an entire change in our condition, and that 
in the next world the manner in which we are to 
exist will be altogether unlike our present life. 
Others, and we think with far more probability, insist, 
that heaven is but another state, from which we are 
(separated only by a thin veil ; and that we shall be 
there in every respect as we are here, excepting only 
that we shall be placed in more favorable circum- 
stances to improve or progress. There has been a 
great deal of dispute among theologians and divines, 
as to whether we are to have in heaven the same 
bodies that we inhabit here. Volumes have been writ- 
ten upon this single question, but without mankind 
becoming any wiser.* The Scriptures, we think, favor 
the idea of a spiritual body, resembling in form, — if 
indeed it may be said that spirits can have form, — 
the one we at present inhabit, but freed from all its 

* See Taylor's Physical Theory of Another Life. 


imperfections and infirmities. This, however, is of 
but Httle consequence. The intellect, which has been 
expended in the investigation of this subject, might have 
been, to say the least, much more profitably employed. 
It is enough for us to know that the grave is not the 
goal of our existence; that there is a brighter, better 
land beyond. There is no truth which the human 
mind is capable of receiving, more consolatory than 
this. And nothing can tend more to elevate us above 
the world, than the thought that we have a home in 
the skies. The tired wanderer of earth loves to gaze 
upon the beautiful stars, "and guess what one shall be 
his home when love becomes immortal." And he 
who cannot see the light of sun, nor moon, nor stars, 
is cheered in his darkness by the reflection that the 
day is coming, when, from the heights of the far-off 
future, he shall look down with delighted eye upon the 
beautiful universe that he now yearns in vain to see. 
When we look around us, and behold the inequality 
that everywhere exists, the wretchedness and sin 
from which none are entirely exempt, it is a blessed 
thing, that we can look upwards and onwards with 
hope, nay, with the assurance that the day is 
approaching when the voice of the archangel shall pro- 
claim to man that the reign of sorrow and suffering is 
over. Then shall that song with which the angels 
proclaimed the birth of the Saviour be again repeated. 
Then shall the good of earth and the pure of heaven 
unite in the triumphant chorus, " Glory to God in 
the Highest, peace on earth, and good will towards 



If we write more frequently upon blindness than 
any other subject, it is because we are called upon at 
every moment of our existence to feel and deplore its 
effects. In whatever we attempt to accomplish in per- 
forming the most trifling act of every-day hfe, we are 
admonished of the absence of vision, and of the diflfer- 
ence, which, in consequence, exists between us and the 
rest of mankind. It is not, therefore, strange that the 
great fact of our life, — that which in an eminent degree 
decides its character, — should, more frequently than 
any other, occupy our thoughts. 

We propose to devote the concluding pages of our 
offering to a few additional observations upon the 

In previous articles we have referred to the different 
institutions that have been established in this and 
other countries, for the education of this unfortunate 
class of mankind. The system by which they are 
instructed is partly by substituting the sense of touch 
for that of which they are deprived, and partly oral. 
One of the greatest improvements of modern times is 
the printing of books in raised characters, so as to 
enable the student deprived of sight to read with his 
fingers. Who can estimate all the advantages which 
books prepared in this way confer upon those for 
whom they are designed? What language can de- 
scribe the alleviations they afford to the darkened life 
of him "to whom nature is at one entrance quite shut 
out'?" Still, tiiere is such a thing as over-estimating 


their value as a means of education. They form an 
important and essential auxiUary in the instruction of 
the bUnd. But they can never be wholly relied upon. 
They can never entirely take the place of oral instruc- 
tion. And besides, the number of books prepared in 
this way must of necessity be very limited. There 
have been published in this country, at the Perkins 
Institution, some forty-three volumes. These have, by 
no means been sufficient to meet the wants of educated 
blind persons. They have, nevertheless, formed an 
important addition to oral instruction. Most of the 
knowledge which the blind man is enabled to acquire 
of the physical sciences and speculative philosophy, as 
well as of the world around him, and of passing 
events, is obtained by having some seeing person read 
to him from some book, or describe to him that 
which is going on around him; and but for such 
description, he wouW remain in ignorance of the com- 
monest facts of every-day life. Oral instruction is 
then the grand agent in the education of the blind. 
which books in raised characters can greatly assist, but 
never supersede. The disadvantages of books pre- 
pared in this way, are, that they are, in the first place, 
too bulky. Secondly, that the difficulty of reading 
them is increased as the student grows older, and his 
fingers become hardened. Thirdly, it takes him three 
times as long to read one third as much as is contained 
in ordinary books. We might name other objections, 
but these are sufficient to substantiate what we have 
already observed upon this subject. Of the contriv- 
ances for instructing the blind in writing, arithmetic, 
higher mathematics, geography, astronomy, tVc, we 
need only say that they are simple and efiective, 


and that they admirably answer the purpose for 
which they were invented. 

The question, "can the bhnd be educated?" is no 
longer a debatable one. The experience of*.the last 
half century is enough to satisfy every one that the 
mere want of sight does not necessarily debar the 
individual from the high enjoyment which knowledge 
imparts ; and that intellectual stupidity and igno- 
rance are not necessarily consequent upon physical 
blindness. There are, however, other problems con- 
nected with the blind, which, as yet, have not received 
a solution. We have time only to briefly advert to 
one. It is acknowledged by all, that there are insu- 
perable difficulties in the way of a blind man's obtain- 
ing an independent livelihood. Everywhere in human 
society, the possession of sight seems necessary to fit 
one for any considerable degree of activity. And 
hence, it too often happens that education does but a 
little more for the blind than to awaken them to the 
fuller consciousness of their deprivation. This is at 
length beginning to receive the attention it merits; 
and the philanthropist is now compelled to acknowl- 
edge that next to the importance of giving the unfor- 
tunate an education, is the devising of some method by 
which they can obtain their daily bread. The friends 
of the blind recommend the establishment of asylums, 
where those blind persons who are too old to receive 
an education, or otherwise disqualified, or who, having 
received an education, are still unable to obtain a sub- 
sistence in the world at large, by their own unaided 
exertions, may be received, and employed at some 
useful handicraft work, so that, by laboring with their 
own hands some twelve or fifteen hours a day, they 
may be able to supply themselves with the necessaries 


of life. We cannot but think that such establishments 
would not only fail to realize the object for which 
they were designed, but would actually create greater 
evils than those under which the blind at present 
labor. None can deplore more deeply than we do, the 
inability of the blind to compete with seeing persons in 
many of the avocations of life. We are still, however, 
of the opinion, that there are some situations in which 
they can not only be useful to others, but by which 
they can also, without the aid of society, maintain them- 
selves and their families. There is no reason why the 
blind may not become effective teachers in our semi- 
naries and academies, and even in our colleges. Mr, 
Nelson, a blind man, was for many years, a successful 
professor in a college in New Jersey. It would not be out 
of place in this connection to refer to Mr. Shaw, the 
distinguished blind musician. Indeed, we see not what 
there is to prevent many educated blind persons from 
occupying, with advantage to themselves and society, 
those situations, where the possession of a good intel- 
lect and a well cultivated mind is of more consequence 
than mere physical sight. Now, if we are right, we 
maintain that establishments where blind persons are 
collected together, and are compelled to labor at some 
handicraft work, from which at most they can only 
hope to obtain a scanty pittance, barely sufficient to 
supply their physical wants, and not even this much, 
witl\out the aid of charity, to be, to say the least, very 
unwise. It would be manifestly an act of injustice to 
those who go forth into the world unaided and alone 
to meet with and manfully contend against the obstacles 
that everywhere surround them. If the blind must 
receive aid from society, it is far better that it should 
be du'ect. It will then be more commensurate with 


the merits and the wants of each individual. Asylums, 
houses of refuge, retreats, work-houses, whatever you 
may please to call them, usually generate two evils 
where they mitigate one. What the blind man most 
needs is a good education. As soon, therefore, as he 
has completed the course of instruction at the institu- 
tions established for the purpose, instead of being 
immured for the rest of his days in an asylum, and 
required with his fingers to compete with those who 
bring to their aid steam and machinery, and do as 
much in an hour as he can possibly do in a week, — 
instead of this, we say, the blind man should be sent 
forth into the world to test the value of his education, 
and if it be worth anything at all, it will enable him 
to achieve his success. It seems to us there is some- 
thing cruel in requiring one, for whom physical 
objects present no attraction, to labor the livelong day 
for barely a sufficient sum to feed and clothe him. 
Society ought not to require this of any human being, 
much less of the blind man. He, at least, ought to 
be allowed some portion of time for the cultivation of 
the mind, since from it comes all his enjoyment. 
We would like to say much more upon this subject, 
did our space permit. We will only add, that when a 
blind man is thoroughly educated, he is fitted to con- 
tend successfully with the evils incidental to his condi- 
tion. And that before the well-directed efforts of a 
cultivated mind, mere physical obstacles must disap- 
pear as the darkness of midnight before the light of 
the noon-day sun. 



Composed and affectionately Dedicated to MARIA L. 
BOWEN, by her Father. 



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